MAMARONECK, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — The coronavirus is taking a big bite out of the economic boost Westchester County would normally see when hosting the prestigious U.S. Open Championship.
Typically 40,000 spectators per day would flood Mamaroneck to watch golf's best at the historic Winged Foot Golf Club, but because of the pandemic, no spectators are allowed at the course this year.
The event was expected to bring in $120 million for the region.
"Under normal circumstances the economic boost for the county in tremendous. You have a week-long filling of the hotels, restaurants are filled. It's prestigious. Many corporations do entertainment of their clients around the U.S. Open," Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.
He estimates the county will realize about one fifth of the projected economic activity.
However, looking at the bright side, Latimer says we've come a long way. Six months ago, Westchester was ground zero for coronavirus in New York.
"And this shows that you can run a major us sporting event in Westchester county safely and soundly, so Westchester is back. Has been for a while, but now the perception nationally will be more clear," Latimer said. "I'm glad that we're able to do it, it's still exciting to have the greatest golfers in the world in our backyard, and I think it's a good sign that Westchester is stable and sound."
The U.S. Open was last at Winged Foot 14 years ago.
It was supposed to be held in June, but was postponed because of the pandemic.
"We're happy to have the Open here, it's not what it would've been, but it's here anyway, we're happy about it and we'll make the best of it," Latimer said.