Greater Victoria bars and pubs are seeing green amidst a St. Patrick’s Day with eased COVID-19 restrictions.
“We will definitely be busy,” said Dylan Hagreen, director of operations for Victoria Pub Company, owner of The Bard and Banker and Irish Times downtown.
The two venues along Government Street are well-known hotspots for St. Patrick’s Day crowds, especially with Irish music, dancers and green beer in the mix.
But the ongoing pandemic did put a damper on things in recent years, according to Hagreen.
“This day (March 17th) will live in infamy as the day two years ago that we had to close. Last year, the celebrations were a bit subdued,” he told Victoria Buzz.
This year, they’re counting their lucky clovers. “We are ready to have service as usual,” Hagreen said, noting it’s all hands on deck today.
In mid-February, BC officials allowed restaurants, bars and nightclubs to return to full capacity, with mingling between tables and dancing also permitted.
The province’s mask mandate has also been repealed, but the BC Vaccine Card is still required for patrons of bars, pubs, restaurants and other businesses, including gyms.
However, it is set to expire on April 8th.
Hagreen finds the relaxed restrictions have “made a big difference” for business, and Tanya Heartwell, general manager of Darcy’s Pub, is seeing similar results.
Heartwell found the Wharf Street pub was “extremely busy” the weekend after restrictions were eased. She says it’s been better for everybody, staff and customers alike.
“It’s just great that we can accommodate so many more people again,” added Heartwell.