CLEVELAND — The sights and sounds of a full Progressive Field will no longer a distant memory, as the Indians announced Tuesday the stadium will open at 100% capacity starting June 2.
"Oh my God, I'm so excited," Susan Singleton, general manager of Zanzibar Soul Fusion Downtown, said.
"Finally," Barrio Gateway general manager Kano Martinez added. "It's a good thing for downtown."
The team started the 2021 season with 30% capacity allowed in the stands before bumping it up to 40% in May. With COVID-19 rules in place, this year's home games are averaging just over 7,000 fans per game, compared to more than 22,000 in 2019 (the last time all seats were open). All those fans coming back means business.
"So right now, all you have to do is go right through that walk that way [to get to the field]," Martinez said. "The only thing separating us and the field is a parking lot."
Martinez says Barrio picked its downtown location because of its proximity to stadiums downtown.
"If they're not here for baseball or basketball or football, they're here for something," he said . "Ever since opening day, our business has tripled. We are back on one-hour waits, two-hour waits."
Over at Zanzibar, the nostalgia also came with the crowds.
"It was just sad and depressing without no games, no fans," Singleton lamented.
And with downtown missing game crowds, Martinez said half of his restaurant's normal business didn't come around.
"I would say we lost like 50-60% of our business," he said.
Both Singleton and Martinez say the 2021 season has been okay for business, but that just around the corner, things really could be normal again.
"[The fans'] energy is just so fun," Singleton said. "They fill this whole bar up."
The Indians also announced masks are no longer required to enter the stadium or while inside. Tickets for the remainder of the season will go on sale May 26 at 10 a.m.