The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are taking an important step forward in allowing fans to enter their ballparks, eliminating social distancing protocols within specific sections that will be populated by people who are fully vaccinated.
The Giants began designating select seating groups when they began their second home stay Thursday, and the Dodgers will experiment with the idea for Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres. The Padres became the first California team to implement a similar concept during their previous home stay, when they opened certain sections at 67% capacity for fans who were fully vaccinated, two weeks after their final dose of vaccine, or received a negative COVID-19 test within a 72 hour period.
The Padres accepted either one for fans 13 and older. The Dodgers and Giants, who will be closer to full capacity within designated sections, require full vaccination for fans 16 and older and a negative COVID-19 test for those between the ages of 2 and 15.
California’s latest seven-day coronavirus case rate of 40.3 per 100,000 people is the lowest in the continental United States and significantly lower than the national rate of 135.3. The latest announcement from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association indicated that there were eight new positive tests among the 12,458 performed in the last week, a positivity rate of 0.06%. Among the 123,770 tests conducted this season, 39, consisting of 23 players and 16 staff members, tested positive.
The Dodgers, major league leaders in attendance every year from 2013 to 2019, will open two sections at their Loge level that will not require social distancing and will accommodate approximately 500 fans on Saturday. The team considers this to be a test. He’ll open a door in right field specifically for those fans and, like the Giants and Padres, he’ll still require face masks in those sections.
The Giants are one of three teams, along with the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, that require a negative COVID-19 test to enter their stadium. For their second home stay of the 2021 season, they identified an additional 1,000 seats spread throughout the stadium that can seat people together as long as those 15 and older show proof of complete vaccination.
The extra seats make up a handful of different seating groups throughout Oracle Park. By May, the team hopes to reconfigure its seating manifesto to open entire sections for fully vaccinated fans and ultimately increase its overall capacity to 50%, a Giants spokesperson said.
California’s five counties that host major league teams currently operate within the state’s Orange tier, which generally allows 33% capacity.