CINCINNATI — The Xavier Muskeeters and University of Cincinnati Bearcats held Sunday’s Crosstown Shootout minus fans, and Clifton bars and restaurants mourned one of their biggest business days of the year.
“Today would’ve been packed,” said Marty Angiulli, who owns Martino’s on Short Vine. “It would’ve been a big day. And now we’re probably going to get one-twentieth, you know, one-tenth of that. That’s a big difference.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, his and other businesses near Fifth Third Arena would have been standing-room-only on the night of the game. On Sunday, fans still showed up — but COVID-19 safety restrictions meant there were far less of them.
Kelli Gagen, who owns nearby Mio’s Clifton, said she hopes her restaurant’s good days this year will compensate for the bad.
“We are trying everything to think outside the box to make it COVID-safe, clean, sanitized and to also create fun and a little sense of normalcy that these kids are craving,” she said.
Gagen and Angiulli said they’re grateful to everyone who has supported their small businesses through the pandemic. With Ohio’s vaccination rollout beginning this month, both were hopeful business would slowly return in 2021.