Murphy’s Bar & Grill announced Monday it is canceling its 32nd annual St. Patrick’s Day block party over concerns of spreading the novel coronavirus.
Don Murphy, the bar’s owner, said he and his wife made the decision after “struggling with it” for weeks and discussing it with the state Department of Health.
“It’s such a popular and fun event — I just don’t think it was the right thing to do,” Murphy said. “We have probably 150 people working for us that day, and I didn’t want to put them in jeopardy. Plus the people that are there (attending) … It’s all shoulder-to-shoulder. It’s not like people are standing six feet apart.”
Murphy said it will be the first time the block party, which he estimated draws more than 10,000 people, has been canceled.
“It could be a long shot that something happens or doesn’t happen, but we decided, you know, it’s better to err on the side of being safe,” he said.
The event page on the bar’s website, which includes a countdown timer to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, was still active as of this afternoon. It advertised serving lunch in the restaurant and on the parking lot across the street and a “keiki fair.” Those events would have preceded a block party that would have blocked Nuuanu Avenue and Merchant Street.
The bar will still be open the day and night of St. Patrick’s Day, however.
“We’ll still have a party, but it just won’t be quite as big,” Murphy said.
The 53rd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Waikiki, running down Kalaukaua Avenue from Fort DeRussy to Kapiolani Park, will run as scheduled. The parade will run for about 90 minutes starting at noon and will include 800 participants, “including community organizations, marching bands, groups from the military, and keiki from schools.”
“Unless the state shuts us down for some reason, we’re planning on doing our parade,” said Matt McConnell, of Friends of St. Patrick in Hawaii. “We hope to bring some joy to some people and (give them) a reason to smile, you know?”