CBJ to play their first game of 2021 season with no fans

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Blue Jackets will play their first home game of the 2021 season on Thursday, but no fans will be in attendance.

A team spokesperson said there were no updates regarding fans at games beyond the following statement he issued, last week:

“We are in the process of working with local health officials to ultimately present to the state a formal request of a variance to allow some level of fans to attend Blue Jackets games at Nationwide Arena. Our efforts in this regard will place the highest priority on the health and safety of our fans, players, coaches, staff and guests. This process is on-going and a formal request will be made at the appropriate time.”

In the Arena District, business owners say they are hoping at least a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend games soon.

“It would help the morale of the Arena District so much, you know,” said Tim Emery, the owner of Boston’s. “The businesses, our staffs — everybody’s ready and we’re just waiting and hoping that this happens sooner rather than later.”

Michael Darr, the owner of R Bar, echoed Emery’s sentiment.

“I think, with the limited amount of fans in the Arena District, it would help revitalize the whole area,” Darr said. “It would start creating that energy and atmosphere that this area’s known for. All the businesses, including myself — it would pump them up a little bit and give them an opportunity to start making money.”

The Blue Jackets are scheduled to play a 56 game season, half of which is scheduled to be played at home.

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