CBS 2's Steven Graves reports Chicago bars are working within their COVID restrictions to make sure they can bring in some green for St. Patrick's Day.
IRAKA SARGENT: Well, St. Patrick's Day looking a lot different this year. Bars and restaurants not so crowded. But for those who do head out, you won't be alone.
BRAD EDWARDS: Yeah, we did ourselves up a little bit, right, Iraka.
IRAKA SARGENT: We did. A little bright green.
BRAD EDWARDS: All right. And Chicago business inspectors will also be out enforcing COVID-19 rules. CBS 2's Steven Graves live in River North. Steven, so far businesses seem to be behaving.
STEVEN GRAVES: Brad, Iraka, that's right. On this rainy St. Patrick's Day, the weekend was really the busy time. The city saying it was out conducting more than 100 investigations. But when it comes to those violations, the report card is actually pretty good.
BOBBY MCGUIRE: St. Patty's Day is a big day for us. Traditionally, it's our busiest day of the year. And, you know, this year so far, that's true.
STEVEN GRAVES: And that is welcome news for Chicago bar owner Bobby McGuire considering all of the COVID-19 rules.
BOBBY MCGUIRE: Everyone knows what's going on. You know, there's no surprises anymore.
STEVEN GRAVES: Which could be why the city's business affairs and consumer protection inspectors only handed out one violation over St. Patty's weekend. They cited Clutch Bar in River North for having 60 people inside, exceeding the 50-person cap. There were more than six people at tables that were not six feet apart.
The lucky charm for McGuire's business success was having reservations.
BOBBY MCGUIRE: And letting people know that, you know, we had reservations and we were sold out.
STEVEN GRAVES: Citywide, inspectors did 112 full investigations and stopped by 180 other businesses.
AJ CASTILLO: But we did hit the 50 percentage mark, so we did have, you know, pretty good business.
STEVEN GRAVES: On Chicago's South Side, a big party like this last year outside of Americanos a thing of the past.
AJ CASTILLO: Under the circumstances, they're not going to allow it.
STEVEN GRAVES: No parade for a second year meant fewer crowds at bars on Western, but parade organizers switched to a home-decorating contest, selling yard signs like these to bring in the green safely.
TIM MCSWEENEY: All the money we receive from the sale of the lawn signs went to local businesses who have supported the parade.
STEVEN GRAVES: But he is already vowing that next year the parade will be back. South Siders hope luck is on their side.
- It's feeling like we're slowly getting back to normal, and I hope by this time next year we can put this all behind us.
STEVEN GRAVES: And as for that business cited, I did reach out. Haven't heard back yet, but we do know the owner will have to go to a hearing to determine fines. And if you do decide to come out again on this rainy day, inspectors are expected to be out until 11:00 tonight. Live here in River North, Steven Graves, CBS 2 News.