St. Patrick's Day Revelers in Chicago and Louisiana Flout Coronavirus Warnings to Stay at Home

St. Patrick's Day revelers flouted instructions to stay at home during the outbreak of the new coronavirus, defiantly filling up bars in cities across the country and hopping between haunts.

Posts on social media revealed that many revelers were refusing to follow social distancing guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 and stay in on Saturday, with bars reportedly "packed" in cities including New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted a screenshot of a live video that showed police disbanding a crowd outside a bar called Tracey's on Saturday, just hours after the city announced its first COVID-19 death.

"Our (NOPD officers) are onsite disbanding a large gathering. This is irresponsible, potentially endangering the entire community. New Orleans just had our first fatality," Cantrell wrote on Twitter.

A day earlier, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards banned all gatherings of more than 250 people until April 13. The New Orleans Police Department urged people not to gather in large groups to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

"I was deeply disappointed this afternoon by the individuals who chose to ignore the sober warnings of our public health officials and the proclamation issued by the Governor," Cantrell added in another tweet.

Louisiana reported its first COVID-19 death — a 58-year-old with underlying health conditions — on Saturday. The Louisiana Department of Health also reported on Saturday that it had 10 new presumptive positive cases, bringing the state's total to 77.

Meanwhile, in Chicago — where the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade and river-dyeing was cancelled — large groups of people flocked to bars dressed in green to celebrate the holiday.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that clubs and bars in the Near North Side neighborhood "were full — but not too crowded" on Saturday.

At a news conference on Saturday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the number of COVID-19 cases in the state had risen to 64 and rebuked young people who ventured out.

"We saw a lot of crowds out and about today, and I need to be frank: we can have a massive positive effect on bending this transmission curve — thereby saving lives — if people take this seriously," he wrote on Twitter.

"If you are young & healthy, listen up. We need you to follow social distancing guidelines too. You may only have mild symptoms for a few days & think you're just fine. But you can have the unintended, tragic effect of spreading #COVID19 to others who may be more vulnerable."

Illinois announced this week that large-scale events with more than 1,000 people are canceled for 30 days. All major sporting events have been canceled and gatherings of more than 250 people are "strongly discouraged."

People in other large cities, including New York, Nashville, Austin and Washington D.C., also flouted warning to head out to bars on Saturday night, according to posts on social media.

"Walked by packed bars in NYC. The worst is yet to come," Billy Chasen tweeted on Saturday.

Thomas Rid added, "I was just out on 14th St in DC to get an item from a hardware store. Bars were packed. You'd think DC is a town full of bright news-junkies who get it. Not so. You people are recklessly putting your own life at risk, & that of others you interact with. I wish I was exaggerating."

Lorie Liebig wrote, "I am absolutely baffled by the state of downtown Nashville right now. There are hundreds of people packed in the bars along Broadway and on the sidewalks. Multiple people in the museum told me stories of being around sick people but nothing would stop their vacation!!! WTF."

Author Matthew Kepnes tweeted, "Wow. There are a lot of people out here in Austin. The bars near my house are packed. Honestly, if this is how unserious people are taking this, we're gonna end up like many European countries and in a forced quarantine. And I don't know how well that will go over in the US."

Times sq
An ambulance drives through Times Square on March 12, 2020 in New York City. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of COVID-19

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing;
  • When caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities, follow guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks.
  • Clean hands after disposing of mask, do not reuse single-use masks.
St. Patrick's Day Revelers in Chicago and Louisiana Flout Coronavirus Warnings to Stay at Home | U.S.