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'It's awesome and light at the end of the tunnel' | Businesses ready to welcome Cardinals fans back

Business owners said one-third of the stadium filled is better than none but they hope more fans are allowed when it's safe

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals are allowed to fill Busch Stadium with 15,000 fans — roughly one-third of capacity — and area businesses are excited for the uptick in gameday business.

"'Thank God,' is number 1, I know it's limited first but it's awesome and light at the end of the tunnel," Kevin Liese, Jack Patrick’s Bar and Grill owner said.

Like many downtown bars and restaurants, his place is still struggling from 2020.

“We're off 50%,” Liese said. “Fifteen-thousand people is better than none but it's not 45,000."

In 2019, the birds generated $303.3 million for the region according to the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Downtown businesses can expect one-third of their gameday crowd. Ballpark Village is starting this season with a whole new look to some fans.

"Really talking the Ballpark Village everyone knew as an entertainment district to a full-blown neighborhood,” Mike LaMartina, Chief Operating Officer of Ballpark Village said.

Some did enjoy the new $260-million Phase 2 additions of more bars and restaurants, a hotel and apartments. They are hoping to debut all of the fun to Cardinal Nation this season.

"Despite the fanless circumstances in the stadium last year we were still able to make the best of it with the businesses that were open," LaMartina said,

Roughly 15,000 is a start and businesses said as the crowds grow, they will have space to stay safe.

"We have a good setup with a lot of space,” Liese said. “Even a regular Cardinal game pre-pandemic the place didn't fill there was plenty of room,"