SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Plenty of people were out at local sports bars on Saturday to watch the UCSB men’s basketball team compete in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years.
On State Street, O'Malleys Bar and Baja Sharkeez were filled with hoops fans enjoying March Madness.
With Santa Barbara County’s move into the red reopening tier, indoor dining is now allowed at food service establishments.
For businesses previously hit hard by pandemic, this came at the right time.
Preston Maloney enjoyed being out and about with his fellow UCSB fans.
“It’s just nice to be supporting the community,” he said. “That’s what everybody is out here doing, supporting their school and local business. ”
This week Saint Patrick's Day went hand in hand with the hometown Gauchos being back in the Big Dance.
With No. 5 seed Creighton squaring off with No. 12 seed UCSB, Jennifer Connolly enjoyed watching the game with her husband John.
“We’re just loving the fact that UCSB is in this tournament since that my husband’s school,” she said. “Then of course it’s really fun because Creighton University is my alma mater.”
Despite the fun festivities, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is concerned that gatherings from the game could result widespread transmission of the virus.
“Sports bars are absolutely unsafe,” public health officer Henning Ansorg said during Friday night’s COVID-19 press briefing. “They are a perfect scenario for super-spreading events.”