BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston city leaders are advising people on how to stay safe during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

The city’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade returns to its full route this year for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade is scheduled to step off from the Broadway T stop at 1 p.m. on Sunday. 

Bars and restaurants are preparing for a busy weekend. City officials are also gearing up, working to keep everyone safe on parade day as Saint Patrick’s Day festivities look to simultaneously honor Evacuation Day

The parade, back on its traditional longer route, will pass many historic sites in South Boston where Revolutionary War soldiers forced the British to retreat in 1776. 

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu says the city is working hard to make sure this will be a safe celebration.  

“There’s going to be a lot of people in Boston,” Wu said. “We encourage everyone to every to enjoy, be aware, be kind, and keep an eye out for those around you.”

The mayor says local, state, and transit police will be out in full force along the route and monitoring busy bars. Police are reminding those who are planning to party that all South Boston package stores will close at 4 p.m., bars won’t be allowed to let anyone in after 6:30 p.m., and alcohol service will end at 7 p.m.

Those who are drinking are also encouraged to take steps to protect themselves against drink spiking. 

“We will prosecute anybody that we find and capture who has done this, certainly,” said Police Commissioner Michael Cox. “But in the meantime, we just want people to stay safe and be cognizant of their drinks.”

Even as Massachusetts gets ready to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in May, the Boston Public Health Commission says COVID-19 can still spread in big crowds. Commissioners are encouraging parade-goers to consider wearing a mask and stay home if you’re sick.

“The parade committee has done a great job ensuring that there’s a lot more marching bands and fun floats for the kids, so we’re looking forward to a good time,” Wu said.

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