St. Louis Cinco De Mayo events draw crowds despite COVID-19

“We had great weather and it was just nice to finally get out and not get caught by Covid,” said Jazlyn Stancel

ST. LOUIS – “I feel great,” said Jazlyn Stancel, a teacher in East St. Louis.

It was a sunny, perfect day, and Stancel and Jayda Paster purposely didn’t think about a pandemic.

“I enjoy my drink, the day and the good time,” said Stancel.

“It’s all about having fun,” said Paster.

The two sisters and many others packed Cherokee Street in Dutchtown to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

“It’s just so nice to be outside and somehow get out. We’re all trapped inside because of COVID,” said Stancel.

For a second year in a row, the official Cinco de Mayo party on Cherokee has been canceled due to COVID-19.

After many restaurants eased their restrictions and vaccinated many people, several business owners in the Southside borough decided to keep their doors open and allow people to celebrate the holidays.

“Every time I go in or near a large crowd, I make sure I put my mask on and it covers my mouth and nose,” said Stancel.

Stancel also made sure she had her hand sanitizer on hand.

“My sister and I found a table out here in this popular hall. We’re socially distant enough to enjoy it, but we don’t risk anyone so we’re just trying to have fun and be safe,” added Stancel .

La Manganita restaurant opened during the pandemic. Owner Jose Manuel Garcia named it after his hometown.

“I’ve decided to bring a little thing from Mexico to Missouri,” he said.

The family-run restaurant got off to a slow start. Business has picked up, but aid has not.

“Guys, I don’t know if you want to stop working in restaurants,” said Garcia. “I don’t know what’s going on. It was very difficult.”

He works with the family. The youngest makes the biggest difference.

“It’s fun,” said Garcia. “My son enjoys coming here on the weekends so much. He makes his own money and is so proud of everything he can do.”

Eight restaurants on Cherokee Street are on the doorstep to see who has the best taco. Vote who you think should win by clicking here.

The Hacienda Restaurant on Rock Hill was having a big party. They too look younger to hire help.

“Send your children to jobs,” said Eric Fears, director of operations. “That’s what we need. Not just everyone else, we’re desperate for employees.”

Finding help and labor shortages have been feared as the major hurdles of late.

“The challenges seem to come and go and every time we come around the corner it seems like something is waiting for us around the corner,” said Fears.

A few miles away at Union Station there was even more partying despite the pandemic.

“We have many safety and cleaning procedures and protocols in place to ensure everyone stays hygienic and everyone is safe,” said Cameron Schoffel, director of sales and marketing at Union Station.

“It’s nice to be out and about in St. Louis on a beautiful day,” said Taylor Meadows.

A sombrero-sporty Meadows enjoyed games, food and much more on the theme of Cinco-de-Mayo on board four historic cars.

About 150 people flocked to the long-awaited Union Station festival.

“I’m having a great time and always keep the mask handy,” Meadows said.

The majority of people at both events either wore masks or had them in hand.

The organizers hope that Union Station’s first Cinco de Mayo Fiesta will be an annual event.

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