St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are underway across Ottawa today, with bars and restaurants hoping for an economic boost after two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re expecting our busiest day since 2019,” Heart and Crown owner Shauna Bradley says.

The Heart and Crown is one of several Ottawa establishments planning a full day of Irish music, Irish food and Irish beer to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

“I have butterflies in my stomach. It felt like it was my wedding day this morning,” Bradley told CTV Morning Live.

“The lifting of the restrictions could not have come at a better time. What a wonderful time to welcome everyone back – this is our day and I couldn’t be happier. The Guinness will be flowing today, that’s for sure.”

The Heart and Crown plans to have live music from 12 pm until 2 am at all locations in Ottawa.

D’Arcy McGee’s on Sparks Street opens at 11:30 am

The Ontario government has lifted most COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity limits in bars and restaurants and patrons no longer need to show proof of vaccination to enter. Last year, capacity for bars and restaurants was capped at 50 people indoors, and last call was 9 pm

Ottawa Police and Bylaw Services officers will be stepping up patrols in the ByWard Market and Sandy Hill area today.

“Don’t invite us to the party,” police said on Twitter. “Keep gatherings under control with visitors you know.”

If you don’t break the law, police warn it could be costly. The fine for being intoxicated in a public place is $65 and violating the noise bylaw is a $1,000 fine.

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