INDIANAPOLIS — Bars and restaurants are welcoming additional crowds this week as thousands make their way to downtown Indianapolis for the NCAA tournament.
“It is a wonderful feeling to have that vibe back. People are excited to be out and definitely excited that basketball is back,” said Jade Sharpe, director of operations at Kilroy’s Bar and Grill, downtown.
They’re working hard to keep those fans safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, so things will look a little different than they did pre-pandemic.
“Obviously if you were in here two years ago it would've been elbow to elbow, but you have to be seated the tables are spaced, obviously all the sanitation stations,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe said they have extra staff on hand to help make sure Marion County COVID-19 restrictions are being followed at all times. That includes wearing a mask when not at your table and limiting seating to six people or fewer per table.
They are also prepared for random and scheduled inspections from the Marion County Public Health Department.
“They have come around to do additional checks, just to make sure everything is good on our end since we are responsible for several bodies coming in through here every day… and then we are also approved for doing deliveries to the teams to the hotels that they are bubbled in,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe said she is hoping the COVID-19 safety measures in place are helping people feel comfortable eating out.
“I hope everybody understands it is fun. It is safe. It is clean. We’re a good place to be so definitely come downtown enjoy it,” Sharpe said.
WRTV requested data from the Marion County Health Department regarding how many warnings or citations were issued to bars and restaurants over the weekend. As of Monday, we were still waiting to hear back.
A spokesperson for the department released a statement regarding their efforts to keep people safe during the NCAA Tournament:
“The Marion County Public Health Department continues to emphasize the need for everyone to follow public health precautions in order to keep residents and visitors safe from COVID-19 during the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament. While the COVID-19 positivity rate and other indicators have seen a significant decline recently in Marion County, we all must be vigilant to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus. A mask should be worn when out in public and is required for those visiting businesses in Marion County. Please stay socially distanced when among others not from your household. Wash hands frequently and stay home if you are sick. It took hard work and cooperation for Marion County to reach a point where hosting these games was possible, and this event can happen safely. MCPHD will investigate complaints about violations to the current public health order and inspectors will be out in the community as more people visit Indianapolis. Violations to the public health order will be enforced as warranted. MCPHD asks that everyone please work together to maintain a safe environment and help each other have a fun and healthy experience during March Madness.”