NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Play ball! New York baseball fans will be in the stands on Opening Day as the state takes another step forward on the road to reopening.
That means 10,850 fans will be allowed at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day on April 1, and 8,492 fans will be allowed at Citi Field for the Mets home opener on April 8.
Regional sports venues that hold 1,500+ people indoors or 2,500+ people outdoors can reopen on 4/1.
Indoor capacity is limited to 10%.
Starting 3/29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will also be permitted.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 18, 2021
Mask wearing and social distancing will be enforced and fans must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported. Fans will also be required to have their temperatures taken before entering the stadiums.
Game tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods, with the first tickets going to season ticket holders.
There will be no paper tickets and no cash accepted inside the stadiums.
The New York Yankees, in conjunction with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health, today announced that Yankee Stadium would open to a 20% capacity to start the 2021 regular season.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 18, 2021
Welcome Back #Mets Fans!
Fans will be permitted to return to games at Citi Field beginning on Thursday, April 8. In accordance with New York State government prescribed guidelines, Citi Field will initially operate at 20% of full capacity (8,492 seats). https://t.co/XPzt9vHFmd
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 18, 2021
Former pitchers CC Sabathia and Al Leiter joined the governor for the announcement.
“We’re excited to be able to get out, and as a fan now, being able to be in the stadium, cheering on the Yankees. I’m just excited,” Sabathia said.
“I’m just thrilled that fans will get a chance to get back in the stadium. I’m sure, as the governor said, it’ll progress to where more people can go,” said Leiter.
“The crowd makes the ballgame… So, we’re going to play ball and we’re going to play ball with a crowd,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I tell you, it’s just so good for the psyche.”
“When you play in front of a big crowd and they’re cheering you or booing you? Man, there’s nothing like it,” Leiter said.
David Roman was laid off from his concession job at Yankee Stadium nearly a year ago and can’t wait to get back to work.
“Everybody feels excited. Everybody feels good. Things feel like they’re coming back to normal little by little,” he said.
Some fans aren’t totally confident about the timing, however.
“With all the people, will it go up? Will the numbers go up again?” one person said.
“It’s good for everything to bring back for normalcy, but, I mean, at one point, you just gotta think about the risk worth the reward. So maybe it’s good for some, but I think it’s just a little too soon,” Yankees fan Angel Montanez said.
Meanwhile, both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will continue operating as vaccination hubs throughout the baseball season.
Major League Baseball says it is planning on a full 162-game season in 2021 after no fans were allowed during the shortened 2020 season.
New York will reevaluate restrictions at large stadiums and arenas in May.