Saint Patrick’s day is usually a time where pub patrons can expect to drink green beer and let off some steam for the sake of tradition. This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local pubs will see a drop in sales as the virus threatens one of the biggest revenue-making holidays for the industry.
As businesses in Greater Victoria reduce in-house service in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some local pubs are allowing customers to partake in festivities at an occupancy level of 50.
Fifteen Fifty’s which has been serving the Saanich area for 26 years, announced Tuesday that in-house service will stop until COVID-19 has been dealt with. According to pub owner and head manager, Keith Campbell the St. Patrick’s Day event has been cancelled but the pub will continue takeout service.
Campbell says the pub is trying to support staff and keep them busy while continuing to put the health and wellbeing of staff, customers and families as a priority. The pub shortened its operating hours Monday and Campbell says the decision to close in-house service came after watching the news and precautions that other provinces implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.
Although Campbell says the pub has received support from the community, the pub’s last four catering appointments were cancelled on Friday as well as a 40-person St. Patrick’s Day reservation for a Gaelic/Irish group. He says sales were doing well until last week, dropping 30 to 35 per cent since news of COVID-19 began to emerge.
Campbell says he is watching the news everyday and will reopen pub seating as soon as he finds out it is safe to do so from health authorities.
UVic campus pub, Felicita’s cancelled its public event, but will allow up to 45 patrons to come into the pub and celebrate. According to supervisor Danielle Olson, the threat of the virus is significantly impacting revenue. Olson says the pub is struggling to get servers in for their shifts as the fear of contracting the virus continues. She also notes that as business decreases, servers are struggling to make tips, some working for just their hourly wage some shifts.
Olson says that operations of the pub will continue to change as they await news from the university and as managers monitor the situation.
Like us on Facebook, or send a tweet to @sarah_schuchard
and follow us on Instagram