RACINE — Downtown Racine Corporation and 17 bars and restaurants will host a St. Patrick's Day pub crawl on March 13 with COVID-19 safety precautions in place.
Marci Bruley owns Marci's on Main in downtown Racine and is helping organize the event. She recalls St. Patrick's Day was the last day before the pandemic forced businesses to close.
"We were all devastated for quite a few months," Bruley said. "So this is just a hope, you know, something to bring stuff back a little bit for us."
Racine health rules allow bars and restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity. Bruley says they will count and make sure people socially distance and wear masks.
City officials told TMJ4 News people and businesses need to follow and enforce COVID-19 safety precautions. A spokesperson said health officials advise you to wear a mask when you're not drinking, social distance from those not in your group, bring hand sanitizer with you, and wash your hands frequently.
State data shows Racine County has a high case activity level, and over the past seven days, the daily average of new confirmed cases is 17.
State health authorities say people can't let their guard down. Instead, if they want to socialize in person, they say go outside and stand six feet apart with masks.
"We are so close, Wisconsin," said DHS Deputy Health Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. "And by combining increasing vaccines with strong preventive behaviors, we will reduce the threat of COVID-19 in our state."
The City of Racine Health Department data shows there have been 8,158 total cases and 112 total deaths.
There is no parade this year, but Bruley hopes people can support local businesses in some way.
"For families to come down and shop locally, come in, stop in for great food, eat lunch," Bruley said. "And have so many different locations so so many people aren’t crowded into one spot."
Tasia White opened Taejavu's on Main in October. She says it was her dream to open a restaurant to honor her roots.
"I started at the bottom," White said. "I started at the roughest moment for the restaurant industry, and to see the love and support my community and my city has given to me."
She said growing up her grandmother always made corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day, and she hopes she can share that tradition safely next Saturday.
"It is getting warmer and people are getting vaccines, and things like that, so people are definitely coming out more, so I'm just optimistic that it will be a fun Saturday," White said.