Despite pandemic, hundreds support local businesses for OSU opener


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Hundreds of people felt a sense of normalcy Saturday, getting to see their Buckeyes return to the field.

It was also an overwhelming day for local businesses.

Normally, thousands of people would be walking the streets of the Ohio State University campus, chanting and tailgating. On Saturday, there were a lot fewer people, but there was still excitement.

“We have football,” said Buckeye fan Carol Carey. “It may not be ideal, we’re not in the stands, social distancing, but at least we got the Buckeyes.”

Carey said instead of staying at home, she chose to stop by the Varsity Club to support local businesses who have been hit hard this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“And I come back for home games every season, three or four times a year, but it’s sad that we can’t do it the way that we normally do,” she said.

For some restaurants, keeping the lines at a minimum was easy, but for some others, it was a different story.

“We know we would get the rush,” said Khalen Watson, the head of security at Big Bar and Grill. “We tried to be prepared for it, but we got here this morning and saw that there was a lot more than expected.”

Watson said the establishment woke to a new challenge they were not expecting.

“Last night, our gates were stolen, unfortunately,” he said. “We had about six extra gates to go out back, they were stolen.”

Watson said though the crowd appeared to be packed outside, inside was a very different scene. The health recommendations were Big Bar and Grill’s number one priority.

“You have to have your mask to come inside the bar,” Watson said.

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