By Lauren Bennett and Dan Murphy
Now that Fenway Park is accepting fans up to 12-percent capacity, or about 4,500 people, more residents are already flocking back to the neighborhood’s restaurants.
Ryan Jones, Vice President of the Lyons Group, which runs Game On!, Lansdowne Pub, Loretta’s Last Call, and Bleacher Bar, said the Red Sox opening weekend “met our expectations.”
Jones said on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday following the Opening Day game on April 2, there was “certainly good energy around the park.”
“People wanted to be in the area,” Jones added. “It was very noticeable.”
While there were no food or drink promotions at any of the Lyons Group restaurants, Jones said, “We had promotions with radio stations and some beverage sponsors and stuff like that.”
COVID safety is at the forefront of people’s minds, said Jones, as many begin to return to versions of the activities they used to enjoy, such as dining out and attending a baseball game.
“It’s a huge point of emphasis for us, and has been for the past year,” Jones said regarding COVID guidelines.
“Fortunately a couple of our venues are large,” Jones added, which allows for easy distancing between tables, and at Game On! and the Bleacher Bar, there is an expanded outdoor patio area as well.
“People who don’t feel comfortable eating inside have more options,” he said.
In addition to the restaurants providing ample distance for patrons, Jones said a staff member would be on hand at all times, whose sole job is to disinfect and wipe down surfaces. There are also sanitizer stations and UV-C germ killing lights at the restaurants.
“We’ve done everything we can to make people feel safe and comfortable,” he said.
Jones said the restaurants were “full inside,” though tables were spaced out 6 feet apart per guidelines. “It was very obvious that people are feeling comfortable sitting inside,” he added.
“As time goes on and more and more people are vaccinated, the comfort level will increase and more and more people will want to sit inside,” Jones said.
Heading into this spring and summer, City Councilor Kenzie Bok is hopeful about the city’s outdoor dining program, which aims to provide expanded outdoor seating at restaurants citwide.
Councilor Bok wrote: “Our restaurants have had an extraordinarily hard year, and they’re so important to our neighborhood fabric, so I’m definitely hoping that we’re turning a corner now, and there will be lots of nice weather for folks to support them on the expanded outdoor patios this spring.”