Cleveland businesses hoping for economic boost from Tribe’s home opener

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — There’s excitement from downtown Cleveland businesses ahead of the Cleveland Indian’s home opener against the Kansas City Royals on Monday, now that fans will once again be allowed to watch their home team from inside Progressive Field.

“I feel like we’re almost reliant on the Indians season coming up. We missed the whole season last year,” said Sara Allooh, a bartender at Map Room on W. 9th St.

“It’s just such a good time. It’s such a good vibe and I also think that’s great for the city you know so that everyone can, the morale is going back up,” said Jon Manning, co-owner of UJerk Caribbean Eatery.

Bars like the Map Room, which has been around for 20 years, say even with limited capacity at Progressive Field, they expect the 11,000 fans allowed in to be an economic boost. 

“It brings in people from out of state, adjacent suburbs that otherwise would never have come downtown,” said Allooh.

She tells us there’s a chance people will be too excited about the game and might not follow COVID-19 safety precautions, but they intend to enforce them. 

“I have a blow horn specifically to yell at people about masks and social distancing,” Allooh said.

The bar is also prepared to serve more than usual. 

“We definitely ordered a bit of extra Bud Light and Miller Lite specifically and we’re gonna be staffing a little extra for it. Typically on Mondays we wouldn’t have a door person, but we’re going to have a door person for tomorrow,” she said.

UJerk has also ordered extra food to prepare for their first home opener since they themselves opened last July. 

“It’s gonna be like opening day for us tomorrow,” said Jon Manning, co-owner of UJerk.

Located on the way to the stadium off E 9th St., they plan to pass out samples and introduce people who haven’t been downtown to the new spot. 

“We’re gonna be out there handing out flyers, we’re gonna you know make everyone hear the nice Caribbean music and we’re going to welcome everybody back to downtown,” Manning said.

UJerk plans to have the game playing inside as people walk by or wait in line.

While different, both businesses are encouraged by the added draw to downtown. 

“It’s definitely looking up, we’ve been definitely growing in sales the past few weeks, a lot more people are coming downtown,” said Manning.

“This past year has been very difficult, definitely a struggle but we’re still standing,” said Allooh.   

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