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Will COVID-19 Stop Amherst's Infamous Blarney Blowout This Year?

A scene from one of the many parties during the 2015 Blarney Blowout in Amherst
A scene from one of the many parties during the 2015 Blarney Blowout in Amherst Photo Credit: Courtesy Valley Advocate

Can COVID-19 stop the annual Blarney Blowout in Amherst?

The University of Massachusetts and Amherst police are working on a plan just in case it doesn’t.

The Blarney Blowout is a UMass tradition. It’s a multi-day bacchanal that takes place the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day.

The Blowout is infamous for chaos. Typically, the event involves huge house parties and late nights in the town’s pubs and restaurants. Thousands of young adults from UMass as well as many out-of-towners attend the festivities.

The university is operating at an elevated level of pandemic precaution due to an earlier outbreak on campus that spread during parties, the UMass Chancellor said.

Due to COVID-19, local and university police aren’t sure what will happen on March 10-12. The school’s Deputy Chief of Police Ian Cyr said he thinks “this year is a little challenging to identify what, if anything, is going to take place on campus,” the UMass student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, reported.

Students interviewed by the Collegian said they expect there won’t be many on-campus parties for the Blowout this year and that most of the celebrating will be done off-campus.

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