Mayor Lightfoot announced today that the Chicago Cubs and White Sox will play ball with a limited capacity crowd starting on opening day.
The plan to reopen Guaranteed Rate Field and Wrigley Field means that fans can watch their favorite baseball teams from the stands this season. The decision follows a drop in COVID-19 cases and a resulting easing of restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
“As a diehard sports fan myself, I’m personally excited to have Chicago take its first, cautious steps toward safely reopening our beloved baseball stadiums to fans this season,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
“We’re able to do that thanks to the commitment of our city’s two great baseball franchises who continue to work in close partnership with Chicago’s public health officials to find solutions that are not only safe, but offer a path forward toward safely increasing stadium capacity as we move closer into our COVID-19 recovery,” Lightfoot added.
Last week, Mayor Lightfoot, CDPH and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced further easing of COVID-19 restrictions due to sustained progress in reopening metrics. Indoor capacity at bars, restaurants, and other businesses sits at 50% capacity as COVID-19 cases, test positivity, emergency department visits for COVID-like illness and ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients are at low- to moderate-risk levels.
Limited capacity planned
Guaranteed Rate Field, home to the Chicago White Sox on the South Side, normally seats just over 40,000 guests. The reopening capacity will be limited to 20 percent or 8,122 fans with at least six feet between parties.
Wrigley Field, the oldest ballpark in the National League and home to the Chicago Cubs, will also be limited to 20% capacity with an appropriate distance between parties. The ballpark, which has a normal capacity of 41,374, will be limited to 8,274 fans per game.
The White Sox Opening Day is currently scheduled for April 8, 2021. The White Sox had minimal cases of COVID-19 in players last season.
For the Cubs, Opening Day is April 1. The Cubs are slated to have 81 home games this season. Last year, the Cubs finished their season with zero positive COVID-19 tests for their players.
“We are proud of the important and historic role baseball plays in our country, offering respite during some of the most difficult times or in providing fans with a sense of comfort when circumstances seemed uncertain,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the White Sox.
“We appreciate Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership and share the city of Chicago’s commitment to safely welcoming fans back to baseball,” said Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts.
MLB, White Sox, and Cubs leadership have instituted several enhancements and operational measures designed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in compliance with city mandates. These measures include:
- Ballpark entry and amenity zones limited contact entry
- Cashless concessions and retail
- Additional restrooms per guest
- Reduced queueing times
- Reconfigured indoor spaces
Additionally, players, fans, associates, partners, and media can expect comprehensive screening and sanitization procedures based on the latest scientific guidance and data to provide a safe environment for everyone at the ballpark. All guests will be required to wear their masks.
Fans were not permitted in the crowd throughout the abbreviated 2020 baseball season due to the pandemic.