CINCINNATI — With Reds Opening Day set in the middle of a pandemic, a big day for Cincinnati baseball fans will look much different this year. No fans will be allowed in the stands when the Reds face the Detroit Tigers in their season opener at Great American Ball Park at 6:10 p.m.
That doesn’t mean they won’t flock to bars at The Banks to be close to the baseball action.
With no gathering at the bar and no crowds packing patios Thursday night, Nick Ramsey's team at the Holy Grail pictured the night before Opening Day a little differently. Still, Ramsey knew it might be the best shot for his bar and others at The Banks to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“I think it’s important for everybody,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a great feeling of normalcy. I think everyone needs to come on down here, feel normal again, enjoy America’s favorite pastime.”
Bars there bank on the Reds season and summer concerts to boost sales. With most major events cancelled, this scaled-back Opening Day is key for managers like Kris Keefe at Jefferson Social.
“It’s been difficult,” he said. “Business could definitely be worse, but it could also be better.”
It's reservations only at Jefferson Social, and they are already completely booked. Each table has been separated, with some surrounding the bar to make it clear there will be no gathering.
“We’re trying to factor in all the ways that we can safely include social distancing and that’s one of the ways that we’re doing it,” Keefe said.
Keefe said while not every patron has been on board with the new regulations in recent months, people are slowly adapting to the new normal.
“It changes so much from week to week with what the regulations are and just business in general,” Keefe said. “There’s some people who don’t want to go out and then there’s some people that do want to go out, and they don’t understand so much that you have to socially distance.”
He hopes the new measures will help businesses on The Banks play ball in the months to come.
“We’re hoping that people are going to be down here because this is as close as you can get to the Reds game without going in,” Keefe said. “This is as close as you can get to supporting the team.”
If you do choose to go out tomorrow, make sure to call the bar or restaurant in advance – and don’t forget your mask.
“It’s not going to be a normal Opening Day, but I’ll say the same thing I say every year: just get here early, have a great time, be responsible and just enjoy the day,” Ramsey said.