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Virus dampens St. Patrick's Day revelry in Palm Beach Gardens

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Posted at 11:19 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 23:20:48-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — For 25 years, Paddy Mac's Irish restaurant has offered Irish flair in Palm Beach Gardens.

Owner Hugh Jackson says St. Patrick's Day is their busiest day of the year, offering live music, cold beer and authentic Irish cuisine.

"This is the big day in lots of ways for lots of things at the moment, normally on a regular years, it's just St. Patrick's Day, but this year we're sharing it with the coronavirus," said Jackson.

Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all of Florida's bars and nightclubs closed for 30 days starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, ending St. Patrick's Day celebrations as the state acts more aggressively to contain a new strain of coronavirus that has infected more than 170 people in Florida, killing five.

Florida's governor also announced that restaurants must limit their number of patrons to maintain safe distances between diners. Paddy Mac's taking the extra steps of separating tables, removing indoor dining room spaces, and installing hand sanitizer stations.

Under the order, restaurants can only operate at half capacity.

"We're not going to tolerate anybody sneezing coming in the door. You know, we're going to be pretty vigilant along the lines of everything like that," Jackson said.

Paddy Mac's had noticeably fewer patrons than normal but Jackson says they still had a big night, but Wednesday morning he will be faced with the sobering reality of having to make cuts.