Opening Day that never was: Businesses around Yankee Stadium hope for comeback

THE BRONX (WABC) -- The Major League Baseball season is officially underway, but local restaurants near Yankee stadium are hoping business picks up after a major slowdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though the Yankees' home opener was postponed due the outbreak affecting players and coaches on the Miami Marlins, and the fact that there will be no fans at home games, business owners are still optimistic.

It is a painful sign of the times, River Avenue nearly desolate on a day that would have been teeming with tens of thousands of baseball fans on Opening Day in the Bronx.

"People were coming down, we went through precautions, we met with the police, we figured out how we were going to do it perfectly," said Mike Rendino, of Stan's Sports Bar. "We've never had outside operations. It was going to be a learning experience we were looking forward to, and unfortunately it's canceled."

Related: Yankees, Phillies series postponed due to Marlins COVID outbreak

The Yankees home opener will now happen Friday, an added frustration to business owners who were shut down during the pandemic.

And of course, things won't be nearly the same during this abbreviated season during which fans are not allowed into the ballpark.

Related: Yanks don't let Nats toot own horn, beat 2019 champions 3-2

Nevertheless, the 161st Street Business Improvement District is putting the word out that stores and restaurants around the stadium are open for fans to enjoy a bit of the gameday experience.

"They come, they have a beer they have a slice, and then they go to the game," Executive Director Cary Goodman said. "OK, we're just taking one part away. Have a beer, have a slice, and watch the game here."

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