CHICAGO — The City of Chicago dyed the Chicago River green on Saturday to honor its long standing St. Patrick’s Day tradition, but this time, there was be no crowd gathered to watch.

Before the pandemic, thousands would gather to watch the Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130 dye the river emerald green. However, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the city did not publicize this year’s event. The river was dyed green around 7 a.m. Saturday.

Dyeing the river green has been a tradition since 1962. The dye formula is a “closely guarded secret” but members assure that it’s been tested and is safe for the environment.

There will not be a St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year.

City officials put bars on notice about preventing crowds from gathering for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Chicago’s liquor control commissioner sent a certified letter to license holders reminding them to enforce capacity limits, reminding businesses:

  • 50% capacity or 50 people per room or floor with tables spaced six feet apart
  • Customers have to remain seated
  • Dancing and other congregating are not allowed
  • Reservations are strongly encouraged and the restaurant staff is responsible for making sure people are wearing masks.
  • Patrons waiting in line must remain socially distanced

Last year, crowds gathered shoulder-to-shoulder at bars and restaurants in Chicago, despite the raging pandemic.