‘It’s bleak’: For many restaurants, coronavirus turns St. Patrick’s Day from green to blue

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — St. Patrick’s Day is normally one full of green, parades and other festivities, but this year many businesses canceled their events, parades and promotions.

At Railgarten in Midtown, with so much unknown, they chose to safely seize the day.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so we figure it’s a beautiful day today, we’ve got some sunshine let’s make the best of it,” owner Taylor Berger said.

A sign in front of Railgarten lets customers know the bar is open for St. Patrick’s Day 2020.

Hoping for the best, the owners of Railgarten continued on with St. Patrick’s Day festivities, doing so while keeping in mind recommendations from the CDC.

It’s a move not only for customers but employees with an uncertain future.

“We think this could be our last day, and we’ve got two acres and three buildings that we have to keep socially distanced,” Berger said.

As they kept the party going, others found little to cheer about.

“There’s nothing to celebrate,” Dennis Flanagan said. “The country is in a very bleak situation and we’re just trying to, we don’t want our doors closed.”

The doors will remain open through at least Tuesday at Silky O’Sullivan’s on Beale, but they’ve cut capacity to half and cancelled St. Patrick’s Day festivities to keep crowds down.

It’s unfamiliar territory for what would normally be a busy day for them.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business 50 years. I’m 67 years old and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Flanagan said. “It’s bleak.”

Restaurant owners say they are going to hang tough as long as they can. 

Several businesses are offering promotions on gift cards and adding curbside services hoping to drum up some support.

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