CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In normal times a night time kick off for a Browns game means big business for bars and restaurants as fans pour in ready for a fun night of football and eating and drinking with friends.
As we are all too well aware, these are night normal times, as the pandemic has closed businesses, specifically hard hit are the bars and restaurants.
Social distancing has diminished capacity and Governor DeWine’s mandate that bars stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. has further damaged the ability of bars to generate revenue.
So while the Browns win over the Steelers on Sunday night set the city’s hair on fire, the night time kickoff was just another gut punch for bar and restaurant owners.
At the West Park Station in Kamm’s Corners the socially distanced crowd was into the game as the Browns pounced on the Steelers and burst out to big lead and cruised to a playoff victory that would normally have led to a late night celebration.
“It’s sad because we have to make people leave, we have to take drinks and have to make them leave and lock the doors,” said West Park Station manager Jesse Loury.
And it was the same story a few doors down at the Backstage Bar, where owner Billy Gass had to ask a big crowd to leave and watch the 2nd half at home.
“The place was going crazy before 10:00 O’Clock but then at halftime we have to ask people to leave, so it’s a shame,” Gass said.
They will have to stay socially distanced but next Sundays game with the Kansas City Chiefs will kick off at 3:00 pm so at least fans will be able to hang out for the entire game.
“This Sunday we’ll have as many people as we can safely and at least they’ll get to see the end of the game this week,” Gass said.
The Browns play at 3:05 on Sunday in Kansas City.