St. Patrick's Day parade
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Museums are opening up again. So are live music venues, library branches, movie theaters, even strip clubs.

But there are two forms of gathering that still aren’t allowed in Baltimore City during the COVID-19 pandemic: The annual St. Patrick’s Parade, which had been scheduled for March 14 this year, and local pub crawls.

Organizers of the annual St. Patrick’s parade announced in January that they won’t be marching down Charles Street this year, because the city isn’t issuing permits for special events. The Shamrock 5K race will be run virtually, and the next St. Patrick’s parade in Baltimore is scheduled for March 13, 2022.

Also prohibited in Baltimore are the popular pub crawls have become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Baltimore.

“As we approach St. Patrick’s Day, the [Baltimore City liquor board] would like to remind licensees and the public that according to Executive Orders issued by both the Governor and the Mayor, pub crawls remain prohibited,” the agency notes in its latest newsletter. “If you see a Pub Crawl advertised, please know it may be a scam, and please contact us so we can further investigate.”

This is the second year that pub crawls have been prohibited to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In 2020, as the pandemic was starting to take hold, then-Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young revoked special event permits for the St. Patrick’s Canton Celebration on O’Donnell Square; the Shamrock Crawl in Fells Point and the Irish Stroll Pub Crawl in Federal Hill, among other events.

This year, the city still isn’t issuing the special event permits needed before the liquor board will issue a promoter’s permit for a pub crawl. While the prohibition is in effect, any drinking establishment in the city that participates in a pub crawl is subject to a fine of not less than $1000 and not more than $3000 and may have its license suspended, the liquor board warns. The ban on pub crawls will continue past St. Patrick’s Day, the board states.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.