BOSTON (CBS) – It was eerie just how quiet it was around TD Garden on the Boston Celtics’ Opening Night. Missing were the guys selling T-shirts at the corner of Causeway Street and the throngs of fans. Businesses in the neighborhood are feeling the impacts.
It was pretty much a ghost town around the Garden in Boston.
“Causeway Street has gotten super weird. On a normal game day, people would be walking around. It’s just not the same,” said Causeway Bar bartender James Duffy.
It’s not the typical Opening Night we’ve seen in the past. As the Celtics tipped off against the Milwaukee Bucks, the bars along Causeway Street were either shuttered or nearly empty.
“It just hurts across the board,” said Duffy.
He’s used to the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at the Causeway Bar on game nights, but not this year. Not this season.
“I hope that we can just manage to get by. Hopefully, they’ll figure out a way to get through the winter months until we get the vaccine,” added Duffy.
It looks different inside the arena, too.
Statewide coronavirus restrictions don’t allow fans in the stands, so even though the Jumbotron is lit up and the players are on the court, the atmosphere is noticeably lacking.
It’s a sad reality for Rodey Ayna’s pizzeria, which relied heavily on the foot traffic before and after sports games.
“All the bars, closed. The fans, they can’t go to the bars, so that’s why a lot of people aren’t coming,” said Ayna, owner of Rodey Pizzeria & Pasta.
He told WBZ-TV that business is down 90% since people have been unable to attend sports games or concerts. Even though it’s been a tough year, businesses in the neighborhood believe better times are coming.
“I think people are dying to get out. Especially young crowds,” said Duffy.
Restaurant workers and owners hope it’s that optimism that will carry them through the winter season.
“Hopefully it will be back soon; we want to go back to normal,” said Ayna.
The Celtics beat the Bucks 122-121.