Small crowds in San Jose celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 1 year after the Shelter-In-Place – “A Glimmer of Hope” – CBS San Francisco

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – A year since the Bay Area closed and stayed at home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds gathered in San Jose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and for a semblance of normalcy to return .

“It’s been a long time since we weren’t there. I think it feels great outside and it feels safe,” said Joyce Lin. “It’s been a long time since we felt safe.”

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Lin was among the crowd that gathered outside O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in downtown San Jose, where thousands typically gathered for St. Patty’s Day before the pandemic.

“Of course we’re all out here, so all tables are 6 feet or more apart, everyone has to sit down, there is no standing,” said Shane O’Flaherty, whose parents own the Irish pub.

Irish dancers perform during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in downtown San Jose on March 17, 2021, a year after the Bay Area was ordered to seek refuge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (CBS)

However, he said there was a noticeable difference in the amount this year.

“I think 3,000 to 4,000 people come on a normal St. Patrick’s Day,” he told KPIX 5.

O’Flaherty estimated that this year there was about 10 or 15% of that number.

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Santa Clara County is in the Red Tier, which means that no more than three households can congregate outdoors for more than two hours.

“It used to be pretty full, especially if you get it later in the evening, it’s just shoulder to shoulder, so it’s kind of nice,” said Matthew Howard. “We’re still here just because it feels safe.”

Howard and his wife Brianna Howard brought their young daughters to downtown San Jose to celebrate as the crowd got much thinner this year.

“We’re here as a family, we’re celebrating,” said Brianna. “I feel really safe and they distributed everything.”

Some would say it’s fortunate for the Irish to finally get together almost a year before the day we were all told to stay home.

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“It’s like 2019, it’s like time travel, I love it,” said O’Flaherty. “It’s just a glimmer of hope, a little light at the end of the tunnel, that life will return to normal.”

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