PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks announced they’ll be welcoming 20,000 fans in the stands when they start the season, but that’s not just good for the team, it’s good for the businesses that depend on events downtown.
Baseball season in Phoenix will feature the highest number of fans allowed for an event since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and the impact will be felt far beyond Chase Field.
Downtown was a ghost town as the pandemic set in, but with more people getting vaccinated, sports teams like the Phoenix Suns felt more comfortable allowing fans.
The Arizona Cardinals allowed a few thousand fans during their season, but eventually pulled back and played to empty seats because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The Diamondbacks are up next, saying they’ll allow 20,000 fans into games as COVID-19 cases ease up significantly.
Nobody knows the ghost town pain more than downtown restaurant owners like Jason Bell who struggled to keep his business alive this past year.
He owns Crown Public House and says, "There was nobody on the streets. Now we’re actually seeing more people come by, people feeling more comfortable to meet up."
With more feet on the street, the only thing needed now will be some wins. However, Bell says, "Win or lose ... it’ll be good to see some people getting out."
COVID-19 safety protocols will still be in place at Chase Field and tickets go on sale Friday, April 2.