Lifted Mandates Are Green Light for St. Patty’s but How Many Will Party?
St. Patty's Day suddenly has the potential to get interesting after Governor Abbott announced that COVID health restriction will be lifted effective March 10.
Businesses of any kind will be free to operate at full capacity should they choose once next week rolls around and this comes right before one of the premier party days of the year. Last year, many people were disappointed when the pandemic put an immediate halt to their planned leprechaun themed shenanigans, but does that mean that people feel safe about large, uninhibited gatherings yet?
Governor Abbott did mention that if the COVID hospitalization rate rises above a certain level for each hospital district in the state, local health authorities could take measures to help ensure the safety of the area but immediately after he indicated that they cannot put a limit on capacity for businesses, cannot mandate mask wearing, and cannot arrest anyone for not complying.
Bars and clubs were some of the hardest hit businesses by this pandemic and no doubt today’s announcement is good news for these business owners (many of them local businesses). While I haven’t seen any announcements for a “good old-fashioned” St. Patty’s Day celebration like they were in pre-pandemic days as of the writing of this article, it’s only a matter of time I think before we start hearing about them.
It’s a tough situation and I often find myself on different sides of the fence when thinking about to what extent should a person’s livelihood should be negatively impacted for public health especially when in most cases, both sides can be reasonably justified.
I will be sitting this St. Patrick’s Day festivities out but how many others will or will most of those people that decide to go out still wear a mask? What will happen after St. Patrick’s Day? I think this is the first true test as to what extent we will take responsibility for our health and that of our loved ones without the safety net of a health mandate. I’m praying that we pass.