NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Saints Sunday looked very different with only family and friends allowed inside the dome for the game. Businesses in the area say without fans, it was almost painfully noticeable.
It’s hard to believe these are the scenes of a Saints home game outside the dome: there’s no music, no cheering, no fans in Champions square, and no tailgaters to be found.
“A year ago, right now the streets would be flooded you won’t be able to cross Poydras because there be fans everywhere,” Allen Larkin said.
Even visiting fans were at a loss of where to go.
With approval from the state, the Saints were initially preparing to host some socially distanced fans in the Dome against the Packers until New Orleans' phase two status prevented that. The Saints instead hosting more than 700 family and friends of the team. But that’s no consolation to Who Dats.
“It’s very sad, very sad but we’re just trying to have faith that things will change before the end of the season and go back to normal and we can have a good time again,” Julie Helmstetter said.
Businesses in the area do not have to look much farther than their bottom line to notice the absence of fans.
“Sundays have been extremely slow just because it’s Sundays in the CBD, we’re pretty slow except for when the Saints are playing,” said Juan’s flying burrito manager, Edwin Riley.
Riley says Covid 19 has been tough for his whole staff. Many were looking forward to a busy Saints Sundays.
“It’s very weird to be so close to the Dome for these last few games and just the streets quiet and no walk-in traffic or anything,” Riley said.
Their capacity is still capped at a minimum, but Riley says all they can do now is to wait, remain hopeful for phase three, and of course cheer on the home team.
“It gets a little hard now even knowing that the game is going on like pretty much next-door, but you can’t go in and see anything or you don’t see people just hanging out,” Riley said.
“Hopefully we can keep progressing and moving in the right direction with everything, it’s still a huge difference. It’s a huge change from what it used to be,” Larkin said.
The city is expected to make an announcement regarding phase three sometime this week.
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