NEW YORK — The Yankees and Mets can increase capacity from 20% to 100% at their ballparks for home games starting May 19 — as along as fans are vaccinated against COVID-19.
And both teams will be giving away free tickets along with vaccinations.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday with Yankees president Randy Levine and Mets president Sandy Alderson.
“Theoretically if you had 100% vaccinated, you could fill the entire stadium with 100% vaccinated,” Cuomo said, “Unvaccinated, it is still the 6-foot social distancing. In other words, our capacity restrictions have been relaxed subject to the federal CDC social-distancing guideline of 6 feet.”
The Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccination will be offered at the ballparks, and a person receiving a vaccination can get a free game ticket.
“If we can encourage more people to get vaccinated by giving away Yankees tickets, we are all in,” the Yankees said in a statement.
The current requirement for fans to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test will be dropped because it is burdensome, Cuomo said. Masks will continue to be required. Sections for unvaccinated fans will be at 33% capacity.
Cuomo also announced that Broadway theatres will reopen Sept. 14 at 100% capacity and ticket sales could start Thursday. Broadway theatres were closed by Cuomo on March 12, 2020.
On Monday, Cuomo said New York City restaurants could raise capacity to 100% on May 19, two days after 24-hour subway service resumes.
All Major League Baseball teams were required to play the pandemic-shortened 2020 season in empty ballparks. Cuomo allowed the New York teams to start this season at 20% capacity (10,850 at Yankee Stadium, 8,384 at Citi Field) and said on April 26 they could increase to 33% starting on May 19. Cuomo expanded that even further Thursday.
“We’ve been polling our fans,” Levine said. “I think the majority are vaccinated rather than unvaccinated who are coming in. And hopefully those numbers continue to rise. But we will have separate sections and accommodate all our season ticket holders, make sure that they’re fine, and other people coming in.”
Depending on whether season ticket holders and their guests are vaccinated, seat locations may have to be moved. Newly sold tickets will be specified as vaccinated or unvaccinated sections.
Levine is hoping for “full house after full house.”
“The main resistance now is people’s own fears and people’s comfort level,” Cuomo said. “And when you have a set of rules and protocols in place where people feel comfortable, I think it’s going to have more people attending games. I think more people will go to restaurants. I think more people will go to museums if they know they are safe when they go there. You’re vaccinated, you are going to sit with only vaccinated people. I think that’s actually going to increase the public acceptance level.”
Alderson said the Mets envision a gradual return to full capacity.
“There are some people who are just not comfortable being in large groups, even at an outdoor facility. And so, from our standpoint, we still need some social distancing,” he said. “Generally speaking, we think a gradual return is appropriate in light of some concerns that people have about being in large groups even if they’ve been vaccinated. So we’re working toward full capacity, of course, but we’re happy with where we are and where we’re going.”
Alderson said the Mets have not yet succeeded in getting 85% of their players and tier 1 staff such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers to receive vaccines, the threshold set by MLB and the players’ association to relax COVID-19 protocols such as mask requirements in dugouts and bullpens and restrictions on movement during travel.
“Our percentage right now is about 77%,” Alderson said. “We continue to work on it. At this point, it’s a case-by-case, individual-by individual campaign on our part. We continue to provide education and as time passes we get one or two more every few days. But we’re not at that level yet and we see the kind of resistance within the framework of the team that we see publicly, and all of the same reasons are being made to us by them as we see in the public domain.”
The Yankees were able to relax the protocols starting last Friday.
“Virtually all of our players have been vaccinated,” Levine said.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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What a joke, the Government restricting people as to what they can and cannot do, if they are not vaccinated. Show me your papers, we are the Gestapo and the Stasi. We have lost our freedom, because of the politicians. George Orwell’s 1984 is here.
HOW’s about we open ALL BUSINESSES and schools 100%, before we let these overpaid hacks, play ball.
Thank the Good Lord!! Accelerating the demise of bankruptcy for sports!! Now we can all move on with our lives and make something better of ourselves as well as spend more quality time with family!! Good Job Cuomo-LOL
Yupp, show me your papers to go to a baseball game, but NOT to vote! Idiots!!
WHERE are the republicans echoing the lefitst talking points by CRYING from the roofs “Vaccine passports are clearly racist, as blacks can’t get ids!”
Get your vaccine at the ballpark and get a ticket. Vaccines take a couple of weeks to build immunity. So just how stupid is this idea?
If they are “smart” (which they are not) the free tickets would be valid for a future game, making it a BOGO proposition. After the MLB All Star game move, I would not grace them with my presence even if the tickets are free. They can “starve” (go bankrupt) for all I care. “Let them drink Coke!”
THING IS the vaccine ISN”T an actual vaccine, as it does NOT prevent you catching Covid. JUST makes it that if you DO catch it, the symptoms are less severe… SO TECHNICALLY IT SHOULD”T be even allowed to be called a vaccine.
Emperor Cuomo just can’t let go of that power. I hope the turnout for both games is abysmal.
Will never attend or watch another MLB game since the All Star game fiasco in Georgia
I can’t even remember the last time i actually SAW a baseball game.. PRO ball that is.. not high school/little league..
Are there really any people who care anymore? Hell, I’d rather watch the annual Women’s Pole Dance Championships or Beach Volley Ball any day.
Don’t forget, people of color won’t qualify to get the shot- it requires a photo ID. Is this gov a moron or what- everyone knows it takes 2-4 weeks before the vaccine protects. Anyway, I think it makes more people hold out for the free stuff cities and states are giving out.
I have not watched ANY professional sport since all the kneeling **** began, BUT this is a time to wake up people, they are boxing us in and they are setting the stage to blame the unvaxxed for ALL failures, ALL lockdowns, All mask mandates and ALL new strains, even though they are already lined up for years worth of dissemination to the masses. THIS IS NOT ABOUT COVID, THIS IS ABOUT FORCING EVERYONE TO GET THE SHOT. First thing to remember, I don’t care what they say, THIS IS NOT A VACCINE, it is some kind of jab meant to kill you, control you, or some other nefarious purpose. From the very beginning, they lied to ALL OF US, what I cannot understand is the number of fools still clinging to what they say, REMEMBER FOLKS, they are liars? This is working, they are driving a wedge between vaxxed and unvaxxed, just like they have done with white/black, gay/straight, cops/blacks and everything else, the list is endless, the problem, people are too stupid to understand.
Not worth it. I will have nothing to do with New York, city or state.
IT’s been over TWO DECADES since i was last in NY.. And that was only cause the carrier i was on, was there for fleet week..
I’d say that would have been grounds for making the captain walk the plank.
Back then, NY wasn’t as much of a hellhole as it is now.
ALL because Guilliani was mayor.
“Theoretically if you had 100% vaccinated, you could fill the entire stadium with 100% vaccinated,”
Remember you still have to mask and social distance……Since people are still getting the covid after being fully juiced.
BUT ‘follow the science’.. Come on man… you dog faced pony soldier.