PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The pandemic has devastated businesses in downtown Phoenix, but some are hoping fans at the Phoenix Suns games will help bring back revenue.
The franchise is now allowing 1,500 fans at each game. The hope is some of those fans will eat at nearby restaurants.
"Downtown is so dependent on events, games, concerts, show, and there's none, so it's kind of catastrophic in that sense," said Ross Simon, the owner of Bitter and Twisted and Little Rituals.
He said the lack of people working downtown hurts too.
"I would say maybe 30% have returned to their offices, but more like 70% haven't. We used to get a really nice happy hour, but that's completely gone," said Simon.
Simon's restaurants are a block from the arena. Fans returning could be a light at the end of the tunnel.
"It's reassuring that everyone is feeling confident that we are doing it in a responsible way," Simon said. "So from that standpoint, it's a little glimmer of hope because we know even if we get 20 to 30 people from that game, it's going to help that bottom line and help us tick along until we can hopefully get busier."
Simon's restaurants are following health guidelines like wearing masks and 50% capacity.
"I think we are pretty confident creating a safe environment for our guests," he said.
According to the City of Phoenix, the arena brings in $182 million a year in direct spending to the Phoenix economy from hotel stays to restaurant visits and ticket sales. With millions of dollars in revenue lost downtown because of the pandemic, Simon is urging those to eat local.
"Support your local business as much as you can. I know it's an old adage but it really does make the difference," he said.