As the Chicago Cubs and White Sox begin preparing for the final weeks of spring training, the city announced on Monday that they would be softening coronavirus restrictions and opening the gates at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field to 20 percent capacity for Opening Day.
*insert any GIF ever of someone saying YESSSSS*
The Cubs are set to open their 2021 campaign at Wrigley Field on April 1st while the White Sox will kick off their home schedule on April 8th. There will be fans in the stands at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field for both games and throughout the 2021 season. Halle-freakin’-lujah!
Mayor Lightfoot’s office used a short 70 second video to announce the news that 20 percent capacity will be allowed at each stadium with at least six-feet distance between standings. Wrigley Field holds about 42,500 fans at full capacity and Guaranteed Rate Field roughly 40,600. Meaning both stadiums can open their gates to 8,274 and 8,122 fans respectively.
Folks, we've significantly slowed the spread of COVID, getting our positivity rate down to 2.8%. And now, we can begin to safely welcome fans back to our baseball stands on opening day. Although we’re reopening, masking is still of utmost importance. 😷⚾ pic.twitter.com/pkGnMDkSUc
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) March 8, 2021Advertisement
Fans entering Guaranteed Rate Field or Wrigley Field will be required to wear masks at the game and there will be “comprehensive screening and sanitation procedures” in place at each ballpark per a news release from the Mayor’s office. Regardless, this is a validation of the hard work all parties have put into combating the COVID-19 virus. In the video, posted on Twitter, the Mayor announced that the city’s positivity rate was down to 2.8 percent and she went out of her way to credit the Cubs and White Sox for their cooperation and diligence in working hand in hand with the public health department and city officials to help develop this plan.
Some other small safety implementations at Guaranteed Rate Field and Wrigley Field include additional restrooms per guest, entry and amenity zones such as ticketing gates and concourses will have limited-contract entry, all concessions and shops will be cashless, reduced queueing times, and reconfigured indoor spaces to better aid the flow of foot traffic. All in all this is a monumental step towards social normalcy in Chicago. Ballgames in the summer are a staple of the Chicago experience and while it’s just a first step, it’s one in the right direction.
1:20 PM first pitch at Wrigley may not have the same feel as it did in 2019, but an ice cold beer in the bleachers is a language that translates to any day of any year. And just nine miles to the south Chicago White Sox prepare for a 2021 season in which they are legitimate contenders to win a World Series and the opportunity to play in front of 8,000 hungry Sox fans is only going to be more motivating as they chase their first World Series title since 2005.
Bars and restaurants are permitted up to 50 percent capacity and can remain open until 1 AM, the number of vaccinated Chicagoans continues to increase while the United Center is set to vaccinate 110,000 more in the coming weeks, and in just one short month we’ll see fans in the stands of both Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field.
Featured Image Credit: Guaranteed Rate Field on Facebook