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Coronavirus expected to cost bars their busiest day

With festivities cancelled and customers leery of gatherings, St. Patrick’s Day is likely to be a bust, according to newly released research.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to cost the nation’s neighborhood bars and taverns their biggest sales day of the year, according to new research, with St. Patrick’s Day parades and other March 17 festivities already canceled throughout the country.

Last year, the typical watering hole enjoyed a 91% spike in sales from an 89% surge in traffic on St. Paddy’s Day, according to data from Womply, a software company that gleans sales insights from information processed via its products. The information is based on the sales of about 3,000 establishments nationwide.

The sharp upswing in revenues typically comes from traffic, the findings showed. Last year, the average check on St. Patrick’s Day rose only 1% from the average for the other 364 days, to $32.75.

Womply noted that St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Sunday last year, which might have skewed the numbers. Because of the timing, drinking places also enjoyed a near vertical sales upswing of 88% the night before, which made March 16 their second-busiest day of 2019.

Civic officials across the nation have canceled official St. Patrick’s Day celebrations because of fears the coronavirus could spread rapidly if the usual crowds materialize. Yet to be seen is whether the fear of contamination will prompt consumers to forgo more informal celebrations at local establishments.

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