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St. Patrick's Day celebrations are coming back in Portland, but much smaller than before

This will be the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Kells Irish Restaurant since 2019.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Once COVID-19 started shutting down the world in 2020, Portland's restaurants and bars had to cancel their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This year they’re back, but on a much smaller scale.

This will be the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Kells Irish Restaurant since 2019.

“It’s going to be wonderful to see people you haven’t seen in over a year,” said owner Gerard McAleese.

Typically Kells is the place to be to celebrate with thousands walking through their block party, but there won’t be any block party this year. 

McAleese said Kells will have strict rules, a 300-customer limit and tables placed for social distancing. 

Pub owners said they lost tens of thousands of dollars when the parties last year had to be canceled.

In Lake Oswego, at The Dullahan Irish Restaurant and pub, full kegs sat unused for months last year during the shutdown. This year, owner Justyn Reese is planning a party with the priority of safety. Instead of having a maximum of 50 people inside each of his two outdoor tents, the maximum is going to be only 28 in each.

Even with the modifications, McAleese and Reese are thankful to be back, and perhaps feeling luck the of the Irish this year.