Editor's Note: A very unpredictable St. Patrick’s Day

Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

THIS ISSUE went to press early Monday evening, March 9.

As of that time, all the information we’ve published on the various St. Patrick’s-themed events in Savannah is current.

As I write this, all systems are go for Savannah’s annual, world-famous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

By the time you read this, of course, it’s possible that some —or all — of it will have changed.

During this very fluid and rapidly shifting news environment around the coronavirus epidemic, that is the best we can do for our print edition this week.

Any late-breaking news about the events this weekend or on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 itself — if there is any news to report — will be found at connectsavannah.com and through our social media platforms.

It is a frightening and deeply uncertain time, but also a time to keep our heads and recognize that whatever happens, the people in charge making the go or no-go decisions largely face a no-win situation.

St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah, whatever else it might mean to you, means the world to the local service industry, and to the workers and business owners that make it up.

It’s easy to sit behind a computer and insist all events must be canceled. And you might be right.

But the hard truth is that many service workers in Savannah have no paid time off and no health insurance.

Most of them literally can’t afford to get sick, nor can they afford to lose shifts due to cancellation or lack of business.

For them, this time of year is always make-or-break time.

This week out of the year is several months’ rent for them.

This week out of the year decides if they can stay where they are, or if they have to move.

This week out of the year decides if they can buy a new car, or they have to keep sinking money into an old one.

For their employers, this week isn’t much different. For them, St. Patrick’s week often determines whether they’ll finish the year in the black, or in the red.

It’s a myth that a liquor license in Savannah, Ga., is a license to print money. The truth is, between the taxes, the fees, and the often-exorbitant rents, many food and beverage places here barely break even.

A disastrous Paddy’s Day week for them not only means lost profit, but potential layoffs of employees as well.

The effect of a pandemic is horrific, of course, and nothing to trivialize.

But cancelling an event the scope and size of St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is also not a trival thing.

St. Paddy’s Day in Savannah is a party to the rest of the world, but for the local service industry, it’s serious, serious business.

In addition to our usual wall-to-wall event coverage in this issue, we have a few pieces directly addressing Savannah’s service industry.

It is no easy call whether or not to cancel events in a time such as this. But as I said, as we go to press this week, all systems are go.

For my part, I’m trying to trust in the luck of the Irish to see Savannah through, once again.

In any case, come what may, let’s raise a glass to them, the unsung heroes of St. Patrick’s Day — Savannah’s service workers.


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