DETROIT – Excitement was apparent for customers and employees at Brass Rail Pizza Bar in Downtown Detroit hours before what many call a big day in the Motor City.
“Opening Day is always a holiday here in Michigan,” said Brass Rail Bar manager Kevin Weathers.
It’s time for the first home game of the Detroit Tigers season, but this year, it will be a lot different than previous years. There will be no large crowds and no crowded bars or restaurants.
“We have everything 6 feet apart. Our tables are 6 feet apart. We have a high capacity here, we can utilize our upstairs. We also have a bar next door, we can utilize,” Weathers said.
“Let me say this: Opening Day is not going to be the same we’re accustomed to because of the pandemic,” said Detroit Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair.
Fair said the city is echoing a simple message loud and clear:
“If you don’t have a ticket, we’re encouraging you to stay home and watch the game from the comfort of your own home,” she said.
Fair said that’s because the COVID numbers in Michigan are rising. The Detroit Tigers and the city are enforcing special precautions for Opening Day. The main rule is that the stadium will only allow 8,000 people inside the 42,000-seat stadium, but Fair said that’s not it.
“We at the health department, we’re going to be out and about. We’re going to bars and restaurants to make sure the owners are following the safety precautions. They should be at 50% capacity. So this year, you won’t see bars that are packed full of people. That’s just not the case this year. We are going to enforce with the police department. We’re going to write tickets, shut down as needed and remove licensees if necessary,” she said.
“I think that if you have your vaccine -- and there’s a good amount of people who do -- and if you keep things safe, I don’t think they should discourage people from coming downtown because a lot of bars are doing the right thing to keeping people safe,” Weathers said.