EDMONTON -- St. Patrick’s Day has been observed on March 17 for centuries and is widely celebrated around the world by people who want to take part in the festivities.

On a normal year, patrons could expect live music, shamrock décor and free flowing green beer and Guinness. While restaurants and bars are allowed to open, it will be much lower key than years past.

On Wednesday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said: "Instead of crowding into a local bar or someone's house with friends or coworkers today, I ask you to respect and follow the restrictions in place and celebrate in a safe and distanced way to help prevent spread of the virus.

“This is not the year for gathering in restaurants and indoors with friends on St. Patrick's Day. In fact, it's against the rules."

Since the start of the pandemic many Edmonton establishments have found ways to pivot in order to meet public health restrictions and this St. Patrick’s Day has been no different. 

“We’re doing everything we can to keep people safe, contact tracing as soon as they come in,” Scott Krebes from Kelly’s Pub said. “Since it’s been a year, I think people understand what’s going on, we’re not going to have to tell people to put their mask on, and they’re kind of used to the rules.”

“We’re trying to make what’s abnormal as normal as possible for people that want to come out and enjoy the festivities,” PJ L’Heureux, president and founder of CRAFT Beer Market, added. 

L’Heureux told CTV News Edmonton business is still running at about 30 per cent of normal staff levels and 30 per cent of normal sales. But, he understands people need to leave their homes after being mostly inside for a year. 

“I think people need an escape from the norm and you can’t get on a plane and travel so really you escape by going to restaurants and bars and that’s what we’re there to do. You can only cook at home so often and order takeout so often you want to be around other people and feel the energy of a room,” he said.

Ken Shebib from Paddy’s Pub and Kitchen echoed a similar sentiment, “this and New Year’s Eve would probably be the biggest days of the year.” 

Krebes said: “St. Patrick’s Day is usually, especially being in the middle of the week, it’s usually three times what we would normally do in sales.” 

L’Heureux told CTV News they will not be adding extra security downtown. He said people might have a few more drinks than normal and they’re cognizant of that. 

“Most of the people are used to the restrictions at this point and I’m feeling pretty confident people are going to react properly in the restaurants.” 

“Even though people are tired of COVID-19 restrictions these next few months are critical,” Hinshaw added. 

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day Jennie Marshall, an event planner and host in Edmonton, shared some history with CTV News about the origins of the common phrase, “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” 

“While you may not want to be kissing strangers this year due to COVID,” Marshall said, “you can take comfort in knowing the origins of the legend of the blarney stone. Kissing the blarney stone is believed to bring good luck and eloquence to those who kiss it.”

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson