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Halifax pubs ring in St. Patrick’s Day, the first since the pandemic began


Lineups outside the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse and Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub, well before noon Thursday, showed Halifax’s excitement for St. Patrick’s Day.

Luke O’Keefe, a third-year Dalhousie student, said this was his first chance to take part in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities while in school.

“Two years ago, COVID just started and we got sent back home, everyone got kicked out of residence and we had to go back and finish school online,” said the 21-year-old student. “Luckily now, we’re in our third year and we can finally enjoy the bars and St. Patrick’s Day in Halifax.”

Back in March 2020, St. Patrick’s Day was one of the first casualties of the pandemic, as the first cases of COVID-19 were reported.

Nova Scotia declared a pandemic state-of-emergency on March 22, and it’s been in place since. The province announced it will lift the state-of-emergency at noon on March 20 — almost two years to the date.

Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub voluntarily shut down on St. Patrick’s Day in 2020, and hasn’t celebrated the day since.

“Two years ago, our owners laid off 150 staff within the whole company,” said general manager Eugene McCabe. “This year we’re bringing back staff and part-time staff.”

After a two-year hiatus, The Old Triangle is also glad to be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day again.

Despite some public health restrictions remaining in place, with the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations happening once again, it feels like a step closer to some semblance of normalcy.

“This thing (COVID-19) isn’t going away,” said Brian Doherty, owner of the Old Triangle. “But now that people are getting more confidence and the fear factor is removed, we’re learning how to live with it and do all we can to make and keep people happy.”

St. Patrick’s Day is the most profitable day for both iconic Halifax pubs.

The hospitality sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, but almost two years after everything shut down, the crowds are coming back.

The Atlantic University Sport men’s and women’s basketball championship is underway at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.

The four-day tournament is the first multi-day event being held at the Halifax event centre since the pandemic began.

AUS executive director Phil Currie said he’s thrilled for the student-athletes who can finally get back to competing on such a large stage.

“There’s been a lot of work behind the scenes to be able to pull this off and so quickly,” said Currie.  “We’ve got four days, 16 teams and 14 games. And so it’s a busy schedule, but we’re thrilled to be back.”

The Scotiabank Centre can now hold up to 5,000 spectators, and the tournament hopes to draw some big crowds as they look to crown and men’s and women’s champion for the first time since 2020.

The AUS basketball championship estimates it will help bring in more than $4 million in revenue for the local hospitality sector which after two slow years could use some business.

“We are really kind of one of the first major multi-day event that’s going to benefit the restaurants and stores,” said Currie. “The economic piece of this is really important to the city.” Top Stories

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