For those downtown this weekend, State College resembled any other pre-pandemic weekend in Happy Valley, with large groups of people roaming College and Beaver Avenue decked out in green.
Penn State students formed lines trailing outside of bars and gathered on porches of downtown rental houses to celebrate State Patty’s — a yearly St. Patrick’s Day celebration held the weekend after THON.
This year, local police and apartment tenants supervised downtown State College for underage drinkers, as well as making sure students followed coronavirus regulations.
Most bars downtown continued normal coronavirus guidelines for the event.
Cafe 210 West maintained 50% capacity and tried to avoid lines “just like any other Saturday,” according to owner JR Mangan.
Ron Filippelli, mayor of State College, said masking and social distancing requirements continued during the weekend celebration.
“I am not aware of any new restrictions that the borough plans to put in place for State Patty’s Day beyond the borough’s existing pandemic emergency ordinance and the governor’s orders,” Filippelli said via email.
The borough’s masking and social distancing ordinance limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 people. Additionally, waiting lines in the public right-of-way are prohibited unless there are less than 10 people, social distancing and mask wearing, and the line isn’t blocking a neighboring property.
It is also required that anyone two years of age and older wears a mask within six feet of another individual who is not a family or household member.
The ordinance in State College has been extended until May 10.
Though the majority of students were wearing masks, there were more students than usual without masks walking around downtown State College throughout the day.
Paul Moomaw of PennAir Properties said guest parking was not permitted, and tenants should have been on “heightened alert” during the weekend.
“If we witness any kind of party, we will notify borough authorities so that we will not be assessed points on our rental permit due to your activities,” Moomaw said in a letter to tenants.
Assistant Police Chief Captain Matthew Wilson issued a warning message to State College property owners and residents on Feb. 23 prior to State Patty’s Day weekend.
“As with past years we have quietly been preparing behind the scenes and purposefully not calling any attention to this weekend,” Wilson said in the release.
According to Wilson, there’s usually “more crime, more criminal arrests and more alcohol overdoses” during State Patty’s weekend than a typical winter weekend in State College. He urged students to avoid large gatherings.
A greater amount of police cars were seen patrolling the downtown area and campus this weekend as well.
Greg Hooper, a manager at McLanahan’s, said business was lighter this year than usual during State Patty’s Day weekend.
“It’s been busier than we have seen most days during the pandemic, but compared to what we normally see in past years on this day, [it’s] not even close,” Hooper said on Saturday.