Not everyone who celebrates on March 17 is a drinker, but St. Paddy’s has a reputation for being a rowdy, drunken holiday, and all businesses can be affected by its revelers — not just bars and restaurants. That can cause risks — especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.
So what do you do to ensure that your business is protected this St. Patrick’s Day?
1. Be aware that you’ll need to be staffed for longer hours
Sometimes bars open at 10 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. If your business is a bar or restaurant, know that this may mean you’ll need to purchase more or different insurance to cover the additional hours.
If your business isn’t a bar but is near one — or close to an area where there may be a lot of people outside — make sure you’re fully staffed. You’re likely to get more visitors than usual. Some people will need to use the restroom, some will want to shop, and some will be intoxicated. You’ll need enough staff on hand to deal with them all.
2. Take COVID safety precautions
It’s been three years since the pandemic began, people are getting vaccinated, and we’re all used to the new normal — it’s easy to take on a false sense of security. However, the pandemic is still happening, and any business hosting a St. Patrick’s Day gathering needs to take precautions. Provide outdoor seating for patrons, reduce indoor capacity, and be safe.
3. Know how to deal with intoxicated customers
As any seasoned bartender can tell you, managing drunk people isn’t fun, but it is doable. As a rule, you’ll want to talk to them as if they were toddlers:
Be patient and use simple language
Avoid antagonizing them, but be firm
Encourage positive behavior
Offer choices rather than threats (for example, “do you want me call the police or would you like to leave?”)
4. Never hesitate to call the authorities
If a situation is escalating don’t assume you can handle it yourself. Alcohol and violence do not mix well. Call the police.
5. Do what you can to discourage drunk driving
Remember as a bar or restaurant, you’re responsible for your patrons, so try to protect them as best you can. Encourage taxi and Uber services. Reward designated drivers by giving them free soda. Whatever you can do to keep people from driving drunk can save lives.
6. Handle money safely
You may be doing more business than usual on St. Patrick’s Day, so if you haven’t already, build safe habits around handling your money. Don’t develop patterns (so that criminals know that one person brings cash to the bank on Monday, for example) and if you move a lot of money, consider using an armored car service. Don’t keep money in the drawers overnight, and have a camera over each register to keep an eye on customers and employees.
Staying safe on St. Patrick’s is about good security, not luck
The most important thing about St. Patrick’s Day is that everyone stays safe and has a good time.
If you use good security practices and common sense, that will go a long way toward making sure that if your business is hosting a gathering this March 17, everything will go just grand.
What improvements should you make to your security to ensure that you’re protected all year long? Learn more by subscribing to our blog.