BY: MARLENE LENGTHANG, ABC NEWS
(CHICAGO) — Chicago will tone down the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations again this year due to the pandemic, but the 59-year tradition of dyeing the river green continues on.
On Saturday morning the river was dyed its iconic shade of shamrock green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not publicly announce when the river would be dyed to avoid crowds from gathering.
The traditional river dyeing event has been canceled as part of a series of measures put in place to ensure safe celebrations during the pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said per ABC Chicago station WSL-TV.
Lightfoot also called off the annual downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade, which would have kicked off Saturday. The parade was also canceled last year due to the pandemic.
The river dyeing process started around 7 a.m. Saturday by members of Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Riverwalk in the city will be closed Saturday and locals keen to see the spectacle are urged to avoid lingering.
City health officials have issued a warning for locals to celebrate safely.
“Green beer does not protect you from COVID,” Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s top doctor, said Thursday. “There is nothing different about St. Patrick’s Day that means you should give up on the things that you would normally take from a COVID precaution.”
Liquor control regulators have also warned bars to abide by coronavirus safety guidelines.
“We’ve communicated with all of them. They should know the guidelines so if we pop in and you’re having a party with a DJ and everybody’s dancing, no masks, (the) party is going to be terminated pretty quickly,” Rosa Escareno, commissioner for the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said per WLS.
“Let’s not let this weekend impede on our progress,” Lightfoot tweeted Friday.
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