Crowds expected, safety measures in place for unusual Opening Day at The Banks

Bars and restaurants outside Great American Ball Park are getting ready for an Opening Day like no other

Bars prepare for unusual Reds Opening Day

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Reds kick off the regular season Friday heralded by a strange, coronavirus-delayed Opening Day.

With no fans allowed in the stands and many craving the return of baseball, The Banks is getting ready for a large gathering Friday night. Preparations are underway Wednesday to ensure that gathering is safe.

Jim Moehring owns Holy Grail at The Banks.

“This is going to be our 10th Opening Day, and this one will be quite different than anything we have seen before,” Moehring told FOX19 NOW. “We are completely socially distanced here. We have 6 feet in between tables.”

If this were March’s Opening Day, The Holy Grail would be packed, roads would be closed and thousands would party all day on Freedom Way to celebrate the annual holiday.

But Moehring knows it’s a different time. Masks are required to enter his bar, temperature screenings will be taken and everyone will be required to have a seat.

“Once we fill up on those seats, we are at capacity,” he said. “We will go on a wait and we will have a text system and we will get back to you when a table opens up or a chair opens up.”

Christian Moerlein Lager House, also in the shadow of Great American Ball Park, finds itself in the same boat. The restaurant is working to celebrate Opening Day responsibly.

“For our restaurant, we are going to have the game on every TV, the sound will be on, and we are going to maximize our space as best we can to accommodate fans at a safe distance,” Marketing Manager Morgan Heflin said. l

The restaurant will have space upstairs, downstairs, outside and even in private rooms overlooking the ballpark.

“Reds season is our favorite season,” said Heflin. “We love having everyone here before and after the games.”

Cincinnati police say there will be extra foot patrols at The Banks, but they’re not anticipating anything too different.

Even though coronavirus is forcing the Reds faithful to celebrate Cincinnati’s Christmas in a new way, Moehring expects people will still come to the Queen City to celebrate.

“I took a phone call from a couple yesterday from Huntington, West Virginia. They have been to 27 Opening Days in a row. They’re coming. We’re not going to be able to go into the ballpark this year, but I think we’re about the next best thing to it.”

The Holy Grail will open Friday at 11 a.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. First pitch from Great American Ball Park is at 6:10 p.m. against the Detroit Tigers.

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