A throwback blows back. It's Year Two of risky business at Irish-theme bars in and around Detroit.
Twelve months ago this weekend, we did two reports on health risks from St. Patrick's Day public gatherings as Covid was sprouting and the annual Michigan Avenue parade was scratched. Back then, "superspreader" wasn't a common word yet and it seemed unthinkable the infectious killer could threaten revelers on St. Patrick's Day 2021.
And yet . . .
State health officials report about 1,700 new Covid cases Saturday and at least eight deaths since Friday.
There's no Detroit parade again, though a Shamrock Bar Crawl is underway at 12 Greektown spots through 8 p.m. Sunday.
In Corktown, Nancy Whiskey's opened its bar and heated tents at 9 a.m. Sunday and will do so again Wednesday. "Get your green on," the century-old survivor posts. The party starts two hours earlier than that Wednesday at Old Shillelagh on Monroe Street, which also adds extra space outside.
Green beer, corned beef and Irish music will flow at dozens of bars, despite the continuing pandemic.
Metro Times on Sunday lists 53 destinations around Southeast Michigan under the headline "Where to celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2021 in metro Detroit (if you must)." Before the list, it warns readers: "Gathering in a crowd without a mask is still dangerous."
Elsewhere in the state, the top health official in Ingham County -- home of Michigan State -- says in a recent statement:
Covid-19 cases are decreasing, but we are still seeing higher numbers in certain areas of East Lansing. With sports and Saint Patrick's Day celebrations on the horizon, it is critical to keep social gatherings small. We are making excellent progress in fighting COVID-19 but do not want to take steps backward.
East Lansing's City Council passed an order this week prohibiting lines for entry into bars, restaurants and other businesses in the downtown business district to combat crowds expected on St. Patrick’s Day.
A year ago: