Roanoke restaurants continue St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, despite statewide coronavirus concerns

ROANOKE, Va. – Hundreds of events across Virginia and the nation have been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis, but restaurants in downtown Roanoke still went on with their St. Patrick’s Day plans.

Two restaurants held large celebrations on Saturday, despite the cancellation of Roanoke’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled for the same day.

Martin’s proceeded with its annual block party on the intersection of Luck Avenue and 1st Street SW. In text messages to 10 News, owner Jason Martin said St. Patrick’s Day is the busiest and most important day for the restaurant. He said attendance dipped by 25 percent due to the coronavirus crisis and the cancelled parade.

Corned Beef and Company also held an outdoor event on the stretch of Jefferson Street outside of its restaurant. However, the restaurant ended the outdoor portion of its event at 6 p.m.

Monty Williams attended the event at Martin’s. He said it’s important for him to support locally-owned businesses while the coronavirus crisis continues.

“My brother-in-law owns a restaurant, and they’re really struggling right now with a lack of business, as I’m sure a lot of businesses are," Williams said. "I think it’s important to have that balance, to support our local businesses but also be mindful of the true risk that exists.”

Both restaurants took precautions to counter the coronavirus. Both installed handwashing stations near their temporary outdoor bathrooms, and Martin’s had pumps of hand sanitizer ready for customers in the ticket line.

Additionally, both restaurants advised people who were sick or had recently returned from traveling abroad to stay home.