INDIANAPOLIS — In downtown Indianapolis, there is excitement.
"Just to know that we're going to make this better than last year. 2021 is a new year. We're ready. We're excited I'm happy! I'm happy," said Dave Luterman, a bartender at the SOS Pub along Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis.
Luterman is in a good mood tonight after learning of the city's plans to close Georgia Street to cars to create an event space while the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments play out in the Circle City.
"It's actually amazing to be honest. After what everybody's been through, small businesses like we are, everything we've endured. Just to know that we have a huge event coming in the month of March, because if you remember last year we were shut down right at this time last year," Luterman said.
The news about Georgia street comes after the announcement allowing an increased number of customers inside Marion County's bars and restaurants. For many, the month of March just got better.
"It's gonna be a great month. It's already going good," Richard Edwards, general manager at St. Elmo's downtown, said.
Edwards said more customers are already sitting at the bar for the first time in a year. He said as college sports fans arrive in Indy they should plan ahead with a reservation and prepare to still follow COVID restrictions.
"Just because everyone is coming into town we are still under the mandates and we're still required to socially distance between tables. We're all required to wear masks," Edwards said.
Edwards says COVID safety is of course top of mind but so is making sure businesses downtown have the best month they've had in a long time, even if that means looking out for the competition.
"We all have each other on speed dial. If I have a walk-in and I know that Ocean Air has an opening I'm going to give them a call. Harry and Izzy's especially. That's our sister restaurant so I'm calling them first. It's a constant communication and we all hope we're all going to be busy, busy, busy for long hours of each day," Edwards said.
DPW crews will start putting in barriers along Georgia street Friday morning. The closure will last until April 5. Restaurants along Georgia street have been given the opportunity to expand their dining space in the public right of way, similar to outdoor dining earlier in the pandemic.