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Houston patios packed for St. Patrick's Day

Wednesday marks one week since Texas has been fully back open, and this St. Patrick’s Day, bars and restaurants are happy about that.

HOUSTON — At Penny Whistle Irish Pub on Richmond Avenue near Midtown, it is a whole lot happier of a Saint Patrick’s Day than last year, when they were forced to close one day before the holiday.

Rachel Schlothauer, a manager at Penny Whistle, said St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday they bar counts on for revenue, usually bringing nearly ten times for money than a typical day. Add 2020’s missed holiday onto a tough year that followed, being open for the holiday this year is a huge relief.

“It’s a huge day for us,” Schlothauer said. “I’m just thankful that we were able to, as a business, survive last year and be open and thriving right now.”

Down the road, Patio Bar has been hanging on, too.

“Terrible, terrible,” is how general manager Ryno Harris describes the past year. “Just like any other place, we took a big hit. We had to lay off people and kind of start over.”

Harris said they relied heavily on their restaurant next door, The Pit Room, to stay afloat. However, he said this past week, since Texas has reopened fully, things are picking up.

“I’m happy to see people coming out and just enjoying themselves," Harris said.

William Yancy, a customer at Penny Whistle, said he felt safe sitting outside on the patio with a few friends to celebrate the holiday. He also wanted to support a local business.

“There are so many local businesses that have had to close,” Yancy said. “So I think at this time, we really do have to support those businesses.”

Local and national health officials have been clear that the pandemic isn’t over. Social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands are still recommended by the CDC.

Both Schlothauer and Harris say they are optimistic that as vaccinations continue, more people will return to their bars.

But this St. Patrick’s Day, plenty of bars and restaurants are raising their glasses to their businesses surviving 2020.