College students were pictured invading Florida beaches to party maskless and the city of Savannah, Georgia braced for a massive St. Patrick’s Day festival with as many as 50,000 people on the same day a record 4.6 million Americans were vaccinated.
The Chicago River was dyed green on Saturday as people in cities nationwide try to celebrate the Irish holiday amid the second year of COVID-19 restrictions.
Experts have said fears of a ‘fourth wave’ of the coronavirus hitting the United States may have been overblown as Florida continues to record falling coronavirus cases and deaths despite having more cases of the UK’s super-COVID variant than any other state.
FLORIDA: College students have descended on Florida for spring break as Fort Lauderdale is packed with mask-less revelers on St. Patrick’s Day weekend
FLORIDA: College students from across the country were pictured packing Florida beaches on Saturday, not wearing masks
FLORIDA: College students wear green swimsuits to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday as revelers pack Florida beaches
FLORIDA: A group on men play the bagpipes in Fort Lauderdale where college students have descended for Spring Break
FLORIDA: A man wearing a kilt is pictured with college students wearing green in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day
CDC data shows a fifth of all US cases of the more highly contagious and more deadly B.1.1.7 strain first detected in the south of England have come from the Sunshine State.
In total, Florida has recorded 690 cases, dwarfing much of the rest of the US where 44 of all 50 states have recorded fewer than 100 cases. The next highest state Michigan has 563 followed by Colorado with 267.
The prevalence of the new strain on US soil sparked fears of a fourth wave of the virus, just as the nation was getting back on its feet and states were reopening.
All eyes have been on Florida as – alongside the high number of variant cases – the state has also pursued one of the most aggressive reopening plans and has no mask mandate in place.
This will heap pressure on other states that have significantly lower rates of UK COVID and overall coronavirus cases, to follow suit and reopen.
In recent weeks, swathes of maskless spring breakers have flocked to packed bars and beaches and Governor Ron DeSantis has urged people to visit the state to get its economy back up and running.
On Saturday, spring breakers were pictures packing Fort Lauderdale beaches and bars as bagpipers played festive music. In Pensacola, about 2,400 runners participated in the McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Run on Saturday while dressed in green.
But while fears were mounting that the strain and a relaxation of rules would create a melting pot for the new virus strain, cases and deaths have continued to follow a downward trend across the state.
Florida has in fact seen a 75 percent drop off in total cases since early January. Meanwhile, 18.5 percent of Floridians have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 10 percent are now fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Saturday boasted a record day of reported vaccinations with 4.6 million getting the jab, a number 50% higher than past the past 2.9 million people record, Bloomberg reporter Drew Armstrong noted.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot allowed the famous river dyeing on Saturday even as the city promised to crack down on capacity violations at bars and restaurants, the Chicago Tribune reported.
CHICAGO: Johnny Ludwig and Chris Coomes play bagpipes ahead of St. Patrick’s Day along the Chicago River, dyed green every year to honor the city’s Irish American heritage on Saturday
CHICAGO: A man looks at the Chicago River after the city secretly dyed it green to keep with the city’s tradition
CHICAGO: An aerial picture shot with a drone shows the Chicago River as it flows through downtown after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday
CHICAGO: A worker cleans a boat in the Chicago River after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday
CHICAGO: A kayak navigates the Chicago River after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday. The dyeing of the river, a St. Patrick’s Day tradition in the city, was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic
CHICAGO: People standing on a dock look at the Chicago River, which was dyed green ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, on Saturday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot reversed an earlier decision not to tint the waterway for second year because of the coronavirus pandemic
CHICAGO: The Chicago River was dyed green ahead of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday as the annual parade was live-streamed from an undisclosed location
CHICAGO: Kayakers paddle down the Chicago River after it was dyed green ahead of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday in Chicago
CHICAGO: A closeup view of the Chicago River shows it filled with Kelly green dye in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday
CHICAGO: People kayak along the Chicago River, which was dyed green ahead of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday in Chicago
CHICAGO: Sarah Hatfield takes a picture of a cardboard cutout of her brother Christian, who couldn’t visit because of the COVID-19 pandemic, near the Chicago River, which was dyed green ahead of St. Patrick’s Day
CHICAGO: An aerial view shows nearly empty streets after the Chicago River, which flows through downtown, was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday
CHICAGO: Workers clean a boat in the Chicago River after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday
CHICAGO: A boat navigates the Chicago River after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday
The city’s annual parade was also live-streamed from an undisclosed location and the Riverwalk was closed for the day to prevent gathering.
The river dyeing, which started in 1962, was abruptly cancelled last year with the annual parade during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Residents were surprised to see members of the Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130 spraying the Kelly green dye into the river just before 7.10am Saturday.
‘The beauty of it was normally there’s a ton of people up here, you can hardly get to the railing, so it made it a little more convenient this year,’ Mike Smith, 69, told the outlet.
‘Just one of those traditions we don’t ever want to pass up. It’s a biggie.’
MARYLAND: Nick Snyder of Washington, gives a high five to Megan Daly, of Annapolis, Maryland, after she blew out a candle he was holding while celebrating her birthday at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery on Saturday
MARYLAND: Eileen Cavanagh is decked out in St. Patrick’s Day gear as she converses with her husband, Emmet Cavanagh, while dining at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland on Saturday
MARYLAND: Bartenders prepare beer orders inside a makeshift bar in a tent outside of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Halethorpe, Md. The brewery is engaging in its ’17 Days of St. Patrick’s Day’ events while following social distancing
MARYLAND: Benji Connor delivers beers from a makeshift bar inside a tent to patrons at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery on Saturday in Halethorpe, Maryland
PENNSYLVANIA: Parade participants dressed in St. Patrick’s Day garb make their way down Leechburg Road during Lower Burrell’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade last Saturday
NEW YORK: Happy St. Patrick’s Day signs are displayed on the window of the Red Lion Bar on March 11, 2021 in New York City
GEORGIA: COVID-19 is not stopping the crowds from coming to downtown Savannah to celebrate. Hundreds of revelers are celebrating at Plant Riverside District’s St. Patrick’s Day festival
GEORGIA: Shamrocks and Shenanigans is a six-day event in Savannah, Georgia that includes entertainment, dancing and food
On Saturday, a bagpiper was seen in the Plant Riverside District of Savannah, Georgia, in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day
A dog was pictured wearing a green cowboy hat in honor of St. Patrick’s Day as revelers descended on the city
A photo posted to Instagram shows decorations in the Plant Riverside District for St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday
A customer at Chief O’Neill’s told the Tribune that they chose to visit the Irish pub in the quiet Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago rather than a busier neighborhood.
‘I am not 25 years old anymore. I don’t need to do Jaeger bombs at 9 a.m,’ Scott Nelson said.
The annual parade in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was also cancelled for the second year in a row but green beer was still pictured being poured at a neighborhood block party, Michigan Live reported.
Hundreds of people dressed in green to celebrate in a party hosted by the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership.
‘We always celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and this was the only thing going on so we were really excited to be able to come out here,’ Libby MacQuillan, a Kalamazoo resident, told the outlet.
The Iron Pig Smokehouse in Gaylord, Michigan has received criticism for merchandise it has sold. One of the designs reads ‘Risk it for the brisket – BBQ with a side of freedom’ while another reads ‘Kiss me! I’m contagious’
The Iron Pig Smokehouse in Michigan, cleared for 300 people, was hosted in Gaylord, Michigan, on Saturday
In Gaylord, Michigan, the controversial The Iron Pig Smokehouse has been selling shirts that read ‘kiss me, I’m contagious’ and decided to host a 300-person-capped party with drinks from The Ellison Place, bagpipers and a kilt sexy leg competition.
Iron Pig owner Ian Murphy told Michigan Live he decided to host the party after the cancellation of the local Hibernian St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
‘We knew that there were people who want to get out and have a good time that feel comfortable doing so safely, so we figured we would partner with our friends over at Ellison,’ Murphy said.
FLORIDA: Maskless runners of all ages are pictured wearing green shirts, including one that reads ‘here to paddy’ on Saturday in Pensacola
FLORIDA: About 2,400 runners participate in the annual McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Run in Pensacola on Saturday
FLORIDA: Runners take selfies while dressed in green skirts and face masks while participating in the McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Run in Pensacola
FLORIDA: About 2400 runners participate in the McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Run in Pensacola on Saturday while dressed in green
The Iron Pig and The Ellison Place worked with local health department officials to ensure the event follows COVID guidelines, he told the outlet.
The Iron Pig, which last year had its liquor license suspended for breaking COVID rules, has also sold a line of virus themed merchandise including a shirt that reads: ‘Risk it for the brisket – BBQ with a side of freedom.’
In Savannah, city officials were preparing on Saturday for between 30,000 to 50,000 visitors on top of the regional ‘day-trippers,’ officials told ABC News.
‘People are tired of being cooped up,’ said Susan Broker, director of the city’s office of special events, film and tourism.
FLORIDA: Large groups of college students were pictures not practicing social distancing as they partied in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday
FLORIDA: College students lie in the sand as St. Patrick’s Day revelers pack Florida beaches on Saturday while not practicing social distancing
FLORIDA: College students were pictures hugging and kissing in Fort Lauderdale as St. Patrick’s Day revelers packed Florida beaches
FLORIDA: College students are pictured gathering at packed bars in Fort Lauderdale as St. Patrick’s Day revelers descended on Florida
FLORIDA: College students re pictured smoking hookah and drinking in a packed bar in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday during St. Patrick’s Day weekend
FLORIDA: College students are pictured soaking up the sun as thousands descended on Fort Lauderdale beaches in Florida on Saturday
FLORIDA: College students were pictured playing beach games as they descended on Florida on Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend
FLORIDA: A group of college students packs a boat to party off the coast of Florida to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend
FLORIDA: A group of maskless college students is pictured drinking margaritas outside of the Rock Bar in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday
FLORIDA: A group of mask-less college students is pictured drinking outside of the Rock Bar in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday
FLORIDA: People of many ages are pictured maskless drinking outside of a Fort Lauderdale restaurant on Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day weekend
FLORIDA: A group is pictured drinking at the Rock Bar in Fort Lauderdale as college students descended on the city this weekend
FLORIDA: College students are pictures packing both sidewalks along a beachfront avenue in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday
FLORIDA: Major traffic jams were seen getting to Florida beaches as college students descended on Fort Lauderdale for St. Patrick’s Day weekend
FLORIDA: Police patrol the area as college students have descended on Florida for spring break as Fort Lauderdale is packed with maskless revelers
FLORIDA: Police patrol the area as college students have descended on Florida for spring break as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is packed with maskless revelers
The Plant Riverside District’s St. Patrick’s Day festival Shamrocks and Shenanigans is a six-day event with entertainment, dancing and food, according to WSAV.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson called for fencing around the Plant Riverside development hosting the festival and said the city will take action if safety becomes a concern.
‘The city of Savannah owns our riverfront. We will regulate our riverfront in accordance with the emergency mandates of our community,’ Johnson told the outlet.
He also called the planned festivities at the Plant Riverside development are ‘a slap in the face’ to the city’s efforts to curb coronavirus infections by foregoing events that draw big crowds.
The hotel and entertainment complex hosting the big festival sits on 4 acres of private property, so it doesn’t require a city event permit.
‘To advertise this huge festival with the intent of drawing people to a particular space in the middle of a pandemic, when we know social distancing and mask wearing is not going to be enforced, is horrible as far as I’m concerned,’ Johnson said.