‘It’s almost as if everyone just went back to normal,’ Downtown businesses say foot-traffic is nearing pre-pandemic levels

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INDIANAPOLIS — Despite an increase in cases and growing concerns surrounding the delta variant, business owners along Massachusetts Avenue say more and more customers are returning to downtown.

“Recently, it just kind of seems like we’ve noticed a huge uptick,” said store manager of Global Gifts, Dianna Morris. “I feel like as soon as they updated the mandate for the county, especially, it was kind of like a free for all.”

Morris said it was almost as if life went back to normal.

“I’ve required my staff and volunteers to wear masks. So, we’re going to be protected, you know, no matter what,” said Morris adding that masks are only strongly encouraged for customers. 

“Although it seems that when people come in and they see us in our masks, they’ll put it on,” Morris said.

Over at The Garden Table a few doors down, the restaurant’s director of operations, Craig Rogers, said the decision to wear a mask is entirely up to his staff and customers.

“We encourage our staff to wear masks right now, we encourage our guests to wear masks right now, but we’re not requiring it,” said Rogers.

Rogers said he is following the lead of the Marion County Public Health Department. He said since the county began slowly increase capacity limits, the number of customers has increased with it.

“Our weekend traffic has always been pretty good, even during COVID,” Rogers said. “It’s during the week that we’re noticing the bigger uptick.”

Rogers said that is largely due to more offices, and their employees, returning to the downtown area. Still, he said each week brings business closer to pre-pandemic levels.

“I would say the weekends are probably getting really, really close to that,” said Rogers.

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