ST. LOUIS – Busch Stadium will once again be a sea of red this year as Cardinals fans flock together to watch games in person. The Cardinals have been approved to welcome 32 percent of the stadium’s capacity starting on April 8 for the home opener.
So the sea may be a little thinner, but it’s a vast improvement over last season’s COVID-19 coronavirus drought.
The Cardinals’ plan was developed in partnership with Major League Baseball, Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office and the city’s health department.
“We are excited to have our fans back in the stands for the upcoming season,” team President Bill DeWitt III said Thursday in a statement. “We thank Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office, Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols, and the City of St. Louis Health Department for partnering with us to develop a comprehensive reopening plan that complies with all City health directives and the League’s Return-to-Play Protocols.”
Echols noted that reports of new COVID-19 cases have continued to decline in St. Louis over the past month, and the positivity rate has fallen below 5 percent for the first time since Sept. 15, 2020.
The Cardinals are working to keep the experience safe for both staff and fans, Echols said. That includes face masks, social distancing and rigorous cleaning.
Krewson said, “St. Louis at our very core is a baseball town, and I know our fans are ready to get back to Busch Stadium for another exciting season! Thank you to the entire Cardinals organization for working with us to develop a comprehensive and thoughtful reopening plan that prioritizes everyone’s health and safety.”
Tickets to April home games will start being sold soon. Season ticket holders will get first crack at seats for the first two homestands; any remaining seats will then be offered to other fans.
Here’s the plan to keep fans, workers and players safe:
· Socially distanced seating: Fans will be seated in pods of four or less with a minimum distance of 6 feet between seating pods in all directions.
· Masks required: Masks will be required at all times in all areas of the stadium, including the seating bowl, except while fans are actively eating and drinking.
· Mobile-only ticketing: All game tickets will be delivered via the MLB Ballpark app, ensuring a touchless entry into the ballpark.
· Cashless transactions: Concession stands, kiosks and other retail transactions made in the stadium will be cashless and use only credit and debit payments. Debit cards will be available for purchase using cash with no service fees at a limited number of locations.
· Designated entry gates: Fans will enter and exit through six designated entry gates to spread out the process. Each ticket will have a designated entry gate; fans can’t leave and re-enter the stadium.
· Bags banned: To reduce contamination and ensure touchless entry, bags – except for medical or diaper bags – will not be permitted.
· Hand sanitizer: Hand sanitizer dispensers will be widely available.
· Staff health screenings: All full-time employees and event staff will undergo health and temperature screenings before entering
There are likely to be additional changes in ticketing, concessions and retail operations as adjustments are needed.
“We’ve all missed the fans at the ballpark and are confident that all fans will adhere to these policies for an outstanding game day experience,” said Matt Gifford, Vice President of Stadium Operations.
Fans can view the full list of Busch Stadium policies and protocols for the start of the 2021 season at cardinals.com/backatbusch.