INDIANAPOLIS — Many bar and restaurant owners in Marion County say they are excited about what the easing of COVID-19 restrictions will do for business.
On Thursday, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the beginning Monday, March 1, bar capacity could increase from 25% to 50%. Restaurant capacity can increase from 50% to 75%. Bars will be able to stay open until 2:00 a.m., rather than the current curfew of midnight.
“Honestly we are super excited, we have been talking about it basically all month,” said Katelyn Rooney, general manager at Pearl Street Pizzeria and Pub.
Rooney said they have been anxiously waiting to hear what the new restrictions would be as she tries to plan for the month of March, which typically is one of the biggest months of the year. It could be this year as well with fans from all over the country coming to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament and March Madness.
“We need to know capacity-wise, we need to know how many people are going to be in Indy so we can prepare staff-wise, prepare food-wise,” Rooney said.
She estimates these capacity changes and additional hours could bring in an additional $2,000 per day.
“These decisions in no way were driven by March Madness or the basketball tournament, those events are wonderful byproducts of a city that has worked very hard to get to a place where public health data and public health experts are confident that we can make these changes safely,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said. “We want to encourage ownership of those places to be very careful about patrons not abusing the opportunity for these owners and leaders of our hospitality industry to impact their own economic well-being "
“We are ready for March Madness and we are ready for whatever comes our way and we're super excited to hopefully move in the right direction,” Rooney said.