MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Tourism experts are expecting an economic boost now that Badger football will be back this October, but bar owners say COVID-19 is throwing them off their game.

Normally, thousands of University of Wisconsin- Madison fans flock to Regent Street during football season, but one bar owner says he can only open at 25% capacity under Dane County’s public health order.

“We are still excited to have Badger football to show it on the TVs, still having people cheer in Badger red cheering on the team and having a good time,” said Sconnie Bar General Manager Lucas Simon-Wambach.

Simon-Wambach said they normally have 1,200 people allowed at the bar on a normal game day.

President and CEO of Destination Madison Deb Archer thinks the return of football will have a domino effect on the economy- prompting a boost in sales for restaurants and weekend hotel bookings.

“It won’t be anywhere near the same and we obviously don’t want big street parties, we don’t want that,” Archer said. “We want everything to be in a controlled environment, but boy do we look forward to next fall when real Badger game days come back.”

Shortly after the announcement of the season, Public Health Madison and Dane County sent a statement urging the community to avoid large gatherings for these games.

“The reality is that it’s not possible to have a traditional football season without substantially increasing COVID-19 transmission,” PHMDC stated.

The agency does not have authority over UW- Madison’s campus or Camp Randall, but does have authority over gatherings outside the stadium.

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