Downtown St. Louis businesses react to reopening without sports and concerts

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Local businesses are starting to reopen but some may still feel reluctant to travel so many are pushing for St. Louisans to explore their own backyard.

“We’re inviting St. Louisians as residents as well as visitors within a 200-mile radius to re-explore St. Louis,” said Brian Hall with Explore St. Louis.

After nearly 12 weeks of being closed due to COVID-19, many businesses have figured out how to re-open with caution.

“Unfortunately the COVID pandemic did put a pause in our business of hospitality operations on our properties, however during this pause were able to continue all of our construction and continue to put the finishing touches on things like ‘Sports and Social’ and ‘1 Cardinal Way’,” said Mike Lamartina, Chief Revenue Officer for Ballpark Village.

But with the Cardinals and Blues seasons cut short and many concerts postponing or canceling entirely, there’s less foot traffic coming through downtown.

“We don’t know what the downtown scene is going to look like necessarily in the coming months. We miss all the Cardinals fans, we miss all the conventions, but we still have a lot of people that live downtown,” said David Bailey, founder of Bailey’s Restaurants.

“What we estimate the lost revenue opportunities to be is within the next 30 days is going to approach $1 billion,” said Hall.

Experts are predicting fewer people will fly this summer and more will drive to their destinations, many sticking to a 2 1/2 hour radius from where they live.

They’ll be likely to visit bigger venues and stop off in smaller restaurants and shops while they’re here.

“We did use the time to make some adjustments and some improvements so there will be some new things to see when you come back, but again, we were only open for less than 12 weeks so we still have plenty of people who are coming just for the first time,” said Erin Clark, Director of Animal Projects at the St. Louis Aquarium.

Many large-scale venues are requiring visitors to pre-register online to get a time slot including the Arch.

“Just be aware of that online ticketing because that is so different from our typical operations,” said Pam Sanfilippo, Chief of Museum Services.

Many businesses say that their staff members will be wearing masks.

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