New restrictions force Irish pubs to put the brakes on St.Patrick’s day plans


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With the new restrictions on restaurants, St. Patrick’s Day will be far from a big night.

For now, customers are not allowed inside because of Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order.

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“This being our last year, it’s bittersweet because we don’t get to celebrate it like we usually do,” Rob Potts, manager of Dubliner, said. “I don’t get to see the people I haven’t seen because everyone’s afraid to come out.”

“We’d already spent a lot of money getting ready for it and getting organized,” Chris Williamson, executive chef at ‘Slainte Irish Pub’, said. “We had to spend the last week hitting the brakes and undoing everything we’d done.”

Potts said he wanted this St. Patrick’s Day to be one for the books. Potts said the NCDOT has purchased his property to expand Carolina Beach Road. He says this is 6 months of planning, down the drain.

“I was extremely angry because like I can’t pay my bills with fear,” Potts said. “We’ve been planning for this all year and this is our last Patties’ day. We wanted to make it the best because we have a huge community of Irish citizens and now they have no where to go.”

Pott says the restaurant has been celebrating for 19 years and usually sees about 400 customers on the holiday, but Tuesday he isn’t expecting more than 30 people.

Potts says this is a day to come together as a family, see people you haven’t seen in a while and meet new friends.

But, with the doors closed, Potts says the problem is bills still must be paid.

“The soonest I would hope that everything would go back to normal would be tomorrow, but in the meantime people have builds to pay,” Potts said. “We still have to pay rent and then we have utilities to pay, so being closed for just two weeks is literally probably going to shut us down.”

In Monkey Junction, ‘Slainte Irish Pub’ is serving, but not celebrating.

“Up to this point, to-go orders and Uber had just been a supplemental thing, but now it’s what we’re relying on, on a daily basis,” Williamson said.

Williamson says the owner announced Sunday the restaurant would be sticking to delivery and take out before the statewide restrictions.

“Having to close down for a minimum of 2 weeks hurts us,” Williamson said. “I mean we’re hoping with to-go orders to break even, but if it went a month or so we’re getting in the danger zone for sure.”

Customers are taking heed..

“Once it’s gone, then it’s time, but not one minute before because we don’t have to risk it,” Dee McGuire said.

Supporting local businesses is key during this time. “Slainte Irish Pub’ will be offering takeout and delivery from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or you can bless a friend with a gift card.