Checks, stiffer penalties implemented for bars, restaurants on St. Patrick's Day

The city will expand its check efforts and implement stiffer penalties on St. Patrick's Day for bars and restaurants.

Video Transcript

JESSE KIRSCH: And Judy, as of now, we do not expect the river behind me to be glowing green this weekend. Both of Chicago's major parades also canceled because of COVID-19. And while restaurants and bars can serve people this weekend, the city making clear those experiences also will not be normal.

- Green beer does not protect you from COVID.

JESSE KIRSCH: Heading into st. Patrick's Day weekend, Chicago officials imploring people to celebrate cautiously. The city's department of business affairs and consumer protection reminding bars and restaurants about social distancing rules, warning that city investigators are expanding their checks, with a focus on stiffer penalties. Party buses, boats, hotels also on notice.

ROSA ESCARENO: And we've communicated with all of them. They should know the guidelines. So if we pop in, and you're having a party with a DJ and everybody's dancing, no masks, party's going to be terminated pretty quickly.

JESSE KIRSCH: Normally, Chicago would glow green for the holiday. But this year, still entrenched in a pandemic, popular strips like River North are sparsely decorated. In Wrigleyville, Sluggers owner Zach Strauss embracing mitigation efforts to keep customers safe.

ZACH STRAUSS: So we want to be back to having our full occupancy. We want to get back to the way it was.

JESSE KIRSCH: Streeterville Irish pub D4's owner Brendan McNeill stressing staff safety, too.

BRENDAN MCNEILL: They're doing a job, and we owe it to them to make sure that we abide by the rules and keep them healthy and safe.

JESSE KIRSCH: Strauss adding, businesses can only do so much on the street.

ZACH STRAUSS: It's going to be up to the police. We are going to need help to disperse crowds.

BRENDAN MCNEILL: And we're here to serve them and hope everybody has a fun time and a safe time.

JESSE KIRSCH: The city reminding residents to call 311 to report any issues. The city also asking people to keep their at-home gatherings to 10 people or fewer. And Judy, D4, the Irish pub we spoke with, tells us they have corned beef and cabbage to go so you can celebrate at home. Back to you.