By Kristina Rex

BOSTON (CBS) – On any given St. Patrick’s Day, the line at The Black Rose in Boston’s Financial District would be wrapped around the street corner. “Everyone’s Irish,” server Laura Ahern said. “You could be from the other side of the world and you’re Irish.”

“Typically we’d have a line down the street. People would be here as early as 8 a.m.,” head of marketing Katie Freeman explained. “Live Irish music typically, and just a big party all day.”

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With COVID-19 protocols in place, none of that is possible for St. Patrick’s Day 2021. Everyone will be seated at a table six feet apart, required to order food, and will be kicked out after 90 minutes because of the state’s rules. A live band will play a livestream on TVs across the pub, but not in person.

“I’m not looking forward to trying to get people out, giving them their beers and saying ‘oh you need to leave,’” Ahern said. “It’s going to be a headache, it really is.”

Still, being open for the holiday is better than what happened in 2020, when bars and restaurants were shuttered completely right as the coronavirus emergency hit.

Some popular Irish pubs won’t make it out of the pandemic, however. Mr. Dooley’s in Cohasset will pour its last Guinness on the Irish holiday before closing permanently because of rising rent and the impact of COVID-19 on its multiple businesses in Cohasset and Boston.

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“I don’t like it,” regular customer Sean Lentell told WBZ-TV. “It’s comfortable, classy, blue collar. It’s awesome. Great bartender.”

The pub’s owners decided to go out with a socially distanced “bang,” with the final day of business on St. Paddy’s day. “When I tell you [normally] it’s like elbow to elbow, person to person, you can’t even move…” bartender Chelsea Riccardi explained. “Unfortunately this year it’s not going to be like that.”

Still, Riccardi says she knows the regulars will show up for a final goodbye. “Everybody that works here, or has worked here, is gonna be here,” she said. “It might not be as full as we’d like it to be but we’re just going to have a good time.”

The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission released a statement Tuesday warning it will be enforcing not only drinking rules, but COVID-19 safety rules as well.

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“With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, we are asking restaurants and their customers to continue to remain diligent,” State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who oversees the ABCC, wrote in a statement. “We have had high levels of compliance, which has helped limit exposure and maintain progress, while keeping communities safe. Tomorrow should be no different.”

Kristina Rex