Atlanta business owners expecting big draw from NBA All-Star Game Weekend

The NBA All-Star Game is set to draw big crowds to metro Atlanta.

No tickets will be sold this year because of the pandemic, but it is not stopping potentially thousands of people from traveling to the city.

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has made things tough for business owners.

While NBA’s brightest stars will work hard on the basketball court many business owners hope their employees will be hard at work making money.

"The city is going to be crunk as the young people say," Chan Heard said.

Business owners like Heard are working around the clock gearing up for the thousands expected to flock to the Capitol City for the NBA All-Star weekend.

"That will be a blessing for business owners like myself," Heard said.

Many see the weekend as a glimmer of economic hope for profits.

"So we are gearing up for the weekend. There’s a lot of construction going on down here," Heard said.

Chan Heard owns the "Sidebar" lounge.

"When they walk in the door they think it’s a "Cheers"-type of bar and they have no clue we have three levels," Heard said.

Sidecar is a three-level bar, lounge, and club in the heart of the city.

Heard’s team is hard at work adding last-minute changes to the 100-year-old space as events are set to start Thursday night and run through Sunday.

"I’m expecting thousands of people to come into the business and spend money with us," Heard said.

Heard said safety is the number one priority.

"We also have a company that comes in and does a sanitation three times a week. If there are any germs left on a surface then they make sure they are gone," Heard said.

"When I purchased this business it was closed down for 8 months along with the slice pizza next door," Heard said.

Heard said everyone should do their part to make sure local-owned places stay open.

"It’s businesses like mine that are driving the economy. We put people to work and pay a lot of taxes and that’s helping the government," Heard said.

It’s been a rough year and Heard said the event space hasn’t seen any big crowds.

The hope is that the weekend will be safe but profitable.

"I want it to be socially distanced but I want it to be full too," Heard said.

The Atlanta Police Department are ramping up patrols throughout the weekend.

Health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear masks, wash hands, and social distance.

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