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Cleveland Mayor Says NFL Draft Could Set The Stage For Safe Summer Events

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson expects more than 100,000 people to gather in Downtown and West 25th Street for the 2021 NFL Draft this week. [BorgenPhoto / Instagram]
Jackson expects more than 100,000 people to gather in Downtown and West 25th Street for the 2021 NFL Draft. [BorgenPhoto / Instagram]

The NFL Draft, which runs from Thursday through Saturday Downtown, is a kickoff to a potentially more normal summer in the city, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said, and a recovery for many local businesses.

As more and more Ohioans get vaccinated, Jackson said the draft, along with updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines, could help set the stage for more big gatherings in Cleveland over the summer.

“It’s a major event and our anticipation is that this will kick off the revitalization of our hospitality industry,” Jackson said.

Jackson is expecting more than 100,000 people to celebrate professional football – and what he hopes are the first steps toward post-pandemic life – in Cleveland this week.

“We anticipate that by the end of the year, we will get closer and closer to what is considered to be normal,” Jackson said.

Any COVID-19 safety guidelines inside the NFL Draft Experience campus will be established and enforced by NFL staff at the event, which wraps around the North Coast Harbor and First Energy Stadium.

But with watch parties planned across Downtown and up West 25th Street, Cleveland Safety Director Karrie Howard said Tuesday Cleveland police will be monitoring restaurants and bars for adherence to COVID-19 safety policies – with social distancing and face coverings when required.

“It’s important to also note that most bars and restaurants have been in compliance and have been very cooperative throughout this pandemic,” Howard said. “We’re asking them to continue to do that.”

Cleveland police will be fully staffed throughout the city all the week.

“Any police officer that’s not either out sick already or on a scheduled vacation will be working for the city of Cleveland starting [Wednesday],” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.