We will see fans at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field at the beginning of the 2021 MLB season, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces ballparks holding more than 10,000 fans will be allowed to open to limited capacities.
The order covers arenas, football, soccer, baseball and performance venues of 10,000 or more. Presumably the order could also apply to Sahlen Field, the home of the Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League), Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League), and NBT Bank Stadium, home of the Syracuse Mets (Class AAA; International League); all three MiLB ballparks have stated capacities over 10,000. However, in the press announcement made today by the governor, the focus was on arenas.
“While we continue to fight COVID on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy re-opened intelligently and in a balanced way,” he said in a press statement. “Live sports and entertainment have long been engrained in the fabric of New York and the inability to hold events has only added to the isolation we have all felt at the hands of this virus. Thankfully, our pilot program to reopen Buffalo Bills games to fans was an unparalleled success and now we are taking that model and expanding it to other large venues across the state to not only reinvigorate local economies, but also help bring some fun and joy back into people’s lives as safely as possible.”
Specifically, in order to re-open venues to professional sports, sites must:
- Obtain DOH approval for both venues and events
- Institute a 10 percent capacity limit in arenas and stadiums
- Ensure all staff and spectators receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event
- Mandate face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks for all those in attendance
- Mandate assigned, socially distanced seating
- Collect contact information from all those in attendance to help inform contact tracing efforts
- Meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
- Ensure retail, food services and athletic activities abide by all state-issued guidance
The New York Yankees issued the following statement:
“Governor Cuomo’s announcement today is an encouraging first step. We thank the governor for his leadership, and we will continue to engage his office in productive dialogue moving forward. The safety of everyone who enters Yankee Stadium remains our top priority, and we will work diligently and in lock-step with the governor to ensure all precautions and procedures are being followed as we lead up to the 2021 baseball season.”
Both Citi Field and Yankee Stadium are currently used as COVID-19 vaccination sites. The Yankees open at home April 1; the Mets open at home April 8.
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