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With lower COVID numbers, are events returning to normal?



CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s been two years since St. Patrick’s Day weekend was in any semblance of full swing. But coming up this weekend, one aspect of that celebration is set to have a huge comeback.

“We’re totally amped,” said Lauren Blakeney with Tattoos and Booz, which is taking part in this weekend’s pub crawl event. “Bar crawls definitely bring in foot traffic, new faces, people who haven’t been here before.”

The bar will be taking part in three pub crawls, total, one happening this weekend, the second happening March 17th, and the third happening this weekend.

Blakeney said she noticed more people out since the mask mandate was lifted in Mecklenburg County, and said the holiday celebrations may serve as a sort of coming-out party.

“We’ve had a packed house every weekend since February,” she said.

The preparations for celebration come as the county’s positivity rate is dropping.  As of Thursday, the COVID positivity rate is 3.7% and marked the seventh straight day at or below 5%.

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Those numbers have been hard to predict for those who have had to make plans or cancel them, due to COVID restrictions or worries. The Charlotte Irish Connection said their 2022 parade is not happening due to this very circumstance.

“It takes about 12 or 13 months to put on each and every parade,” said Kevin Tobin with the Charlotte Irish Connection. “So, if you think back 12 months ago, we weren’t sure what the future looked like.”

Celebrations put on by the Charlotte Irish Connection are more rooted in Irish traditions, which have also been affected by COVID.

“We’re tasked with celebrating Irish history and culture, and that is as vast and wide as you care to make it between the traditional things like Irish dancing, Irish music, walking in a parade,” said Tobin.

It is not lost on anyone that this weekend will likely result in one of the biggest holiday celebrations since COVID restrictions eased, though medical providers do note that hospitalizations and staffing shortages are still causing a strain on the hospital system.

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