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Coronavirus Concerns: While 'Large Gatherings' Are Banned, Chicago St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawls Are On

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With all large events banned to stop the spread of the coronavirus--no St. Patrick's Day parade, no green river--how are the parties and crawls planned for Saturday still on?

From people who don't understand why the cancellation rule for large events doesn't apply here. It turns out, it does. The parties are on, but Chicago Police can shut them down, CBS 2's Tara Molina reports.

It won't be the St. Pat's Saturday Chicago planned on. All the fun canceled over COVID-19 concerns. A state and city order bans all events involving more than 1,000 people and strongly discouraging gatherings of 250 or more.

But the big bar parties will go on, and not everyone is heeding those warnings. We found more than a handful of crawls and events still on the books.

One pub crawler is taking a loss on his ticket. "I don't think I'm gonna go," he said. "I'm worried about my parents and grandparents and other older family members getting sick."

Others, are choosing not to cancel, but are "scaling back," said Fallon McGeeney. "We were gonna do a bar crawl, but we think it'd probably be better to stay at someone's house a majority of the day and then go to maybe one or two bars."

Molina checked in with Chicago's office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. They reached out to all businesses with recommendations to cancel large events. So, if more than 1,000 people are throwing back green beer at once? Chicago Police can step in, enforce the guidelines and shut it down.

We reached out to the companies behind the 3 largest crawls in the city. Not one got back to us.

This is statement from Chicago's office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection:

I can confirm that BACP reached out to all of our business license contacts and partner organizations to pass along the guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health, which includes the cancellation of large events with 1,000 or more attendees and the strong recommendation to cancel events of 250+ people.

The Chicago Police Department can enforce. They can shut down events of more than 1,000.

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