MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Beale Street St. Patrick’s Day parade is making a return with some slight changes as Beale Street slowly makes its way back from COVID-19.
The parade be held in May instead of March, and there will be COVID guidelines, but there’s a lot of hope it can be done safely.
In Shelby County’s latest health directives, bars and restaurants were allowed the most freedom they’ve had in over a year. Health officials say businesses and patrons are complying with safety guidelines better than ever.
“People were very good about going to the website, looking at the health directive, and making sure their plans reflect that,” said Dr. Bruce Randolph, the county’s health officer.
So the health department and city of Memphis have approved plans to host the Beale Street St. Patrick’s Day parade. Normally the event is packed with people, but this year’s version will feature social distancing and mask requirements.
Still, many say it’s better than nothing for an area that’s been crippled by COVID.
“With small modifications, people are okay with that. As long as we’re getting things on the right path,” said Jerred Price, president of the Downtown Memphis Neighborhood Association. “Bringing back the festival, bringing back the parade … It really makes people aware that hey, Memphis is going to come back.”
The event is open to the public, and no attendance capacity has been set, so there does seem to be some risk for COVID transmission. But with vaccination numbers continuing to head in the right direction, officials are confident the parade can be held responsibly.
“We’re doing our part to ensure that we’re doing it safely, and that’s why the health department has approved those events,” Price said.
The parade will take place on Beale on May 1, starting around 3 p.m.