With COVID-19 restrictions across the country easing, more baseball teams are looking at increasing capacities–some as high as 100 percent–in coming weeks.
Tonight, for example, the Atlanta Braves will take advantage of Georgia’s loosening of capacity retractions and open Truist Park to 100 percent capacity.
“We have had great success welcoming our fans back safely to Truist Park,” said Derek Schiller, President and CEO of the Atlanta Braves, via press statement. “Our outdoor environment, the demand from our season ticket holders and fans to watch us play in person plus safety measures which are in place make it feel that now is the right time to get back to full capacity at Truist Park.”
Still, not all will be back to normal, as all modified health and safety measures at Truist Park will remain in place. Masks are still mandatory for fans unless actively eating or drinking, while cashless concessions, mobile ticketing and ordering, and a no bag policy will continue. And revisions to the seating capacity or other health and safety measures will be subject to continuous review throughout the season.
Similarly, the Rome Braves (High-A East) announced a return to full capacity beginning May 18.
For teams not yet at 100 percent capacity, that goal is within sight. For example: after Gov. Tim Walz announced the loosening of state health and safety guidelines, the Minnesota Twins announced they would start ramping up to full capacity, taking it homestand by homestand. The Rochester Honkers (Northwoods League) went a step further, announcing full capacity st Mayo Field when the summer-collegiate circuit begins play on May 31, while the St. Paul Saints (Triple-A East) announced a Ramp Up Responsibly effort. To start, the team will move from the current 27% capacity to roughly 50-60 percent for their first two home series, May 11-16 and May 18-23.
“While we are extremely excited about the Governor’s announcement, as are our fans, we want to make sure we approach the process of expanding capacity in a timely and responsible manner,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer in a press statement. “Our goal is to make sure that every Saints fan that walks through our gates does so as comfortably and safely as possible.”
Meanwhile, for those teams not yet anticipating playing to full capacity, vaccinated-only sections continue to implemented. Today the Seattle Mariners announced fully vaccinated fans attending games at T-Mobile Park will be able to purchase tickets in vaccine-only seating sections, priced as low as $10. Seats are in the Centerfield Bleachers for all available games, and for select games in Sections 306-310 in Right Field View Level and Sections 149-151 on the Main Level. In addition, tickets for these sections do not need to be sold together in pods. Yes, masks will be required.