With the pandemic still threatening public health, many football fans will, undoubtedly, choose to watch Thursday night’s opening game of the NFL season from the safety of their own homes.
The NFL season kicks off at 7 p.m., when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.
But some sports fans, perhaps those itching to break the routine or those who find comfort cheering with others, will find that some of the area’s sports bars are up and running and ready to welcome them.
“First of all we’re delighted to have live sports back,” said Dave Cahill, general manager of Ireland’s Four Courts in Arlington, Virginia.
“We’re fortunate here at the Four Courts; we have three different rooms, and we have a large outdoor area. So we have 18 televisions inside and three TVs outside. Having three rooms, it’s going to allow us to spread people out all over the rooms, 6 feet apart and still enjoy the football,” he said.
Cahill said the facility follows all state guidelines for COVID-19 safety.
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Another spacious sports bar is Caddies in Bethesda, Maryland, which has two 10-foot garage doors open to expose the front of the restaurant, providing an inside-outdoor feel. There is a large patio, where the action can be viewed on some of Caddies’ 40 TVs.
“We’ve been really proactive dating back to June. First when we were allowed to reopen … with our security guards taking temperatures at the door … all of our tables are socially distanced and spread out. We’re using all plastic ware, disposable cups … Hand sanitizer is placed in 10 different positions … We’re doing our part to keep everyone who comes in here safe,” said Ronnie Heckman, owner of Caddies.
Both Ireland’s Four Courts and Caddies subscribe to “NFL Sunday Ticket,” a sports package that broadcasts all NFL games.
“We feel very positive. We feel that it’s baby steps. We’re in a much better position than we were a month ago, and each time we’re learning more about this and have the right protocol to keep people safe,” Cahill said.
“We’ll have all the games, We’re going to kick off on Thursday night … and the game Sunday and the two games on Monday night,” he said.
The Washington Football Team hosts the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. Sunday.
One big challenge Caddies faces is Montgomery County’s 10 p.m. curfew on sales of alcohol consumed on the premises.
But nonetheless, it’s looking forward to serving as a hub for football fans.
“It’s not helping us, but we’re hoping they’re working through things, and they’re figuring out a way to give us a couple of extra hours of alcohol service,” Heckman said.
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