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Ohio looks at allowing 30 percent capacity at MLB, MiLB ballparks

Cincinnati RedsOhio Gov. Mike DeWine is looking at approving plans for MiLB and MLB ballparks to host fans up to 30 percent capacity when their seasons open in April and May.

The approvals would impact the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park, as well as five Ohio minor league baseball teams (Akron RubberDucks, Columbus Clippers, Dayton Dragons, Lake County Captains and Toledo Mud Hens). The same guidelines would be extended to FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew of MLS, whose seasons also start in April. It is limited to outdoor venues; indoor venues are currently limited to 10 percent capacity. From

DeWine said he spoke to the Indians and Reds last week and will be speaking this week to all minor-league teams in the state to go over the plan. But DeWine cautioned that all teams must come up with plans that have mask mandates and proper social distancing protocols before approved to allow fans. 

The full announcement is expected on Thursday, DeWine said. 

With masks and the event taking place outdoor, “we think that 30% is a logical place to start, provided they can also have the distancing that is required,” he said. “What we have told them is we want to see your plan and we’ll review the plan. Their local health department, county health department will review the plan as well.” 

Having a plan in place should not be an issue for any of these teams, which have prepped reopening plans for weeks now. One potential problem: whether any of the COVID-19 variants emerging in the United States will end up being more contagious or deadly than anticipated. But otherwise the Reds have already gone public with a plan — based on MLB guidelines — that calls for pod seating and plenty of social distancing, a plan first floated by the Reds in January:

To make this as manageable as possible, we are adopting the seating method being used by other venues hosting large groups and the model implemented by Major League Baseball during the 2020 World Series. We are creating socially distanced ‘seating pods’ throughout the ballpark. This term refers to the method by which we allow groups not requiring social distancing to remain seated together while providing 6-feet of separation between groups of seating pods.

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