Hours after the DC United received approval for 2,000 fans to attend home games, the Washington Nationals received a thumbs up from the district to host 5,000 fans for Opening Day.
The Nationals play the New York Mets on April 1 at Nationals Park.
The Washington Nationals, with approval from the Government of the District of Columbia and @MLB, will welcome fans back to Nationals Park on Opening Day.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 16, 2021
According to MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, the number represents 12 percent of the stadium’s 41,418 capacity.
AThat figure falls on the lower end of the spectrum among MLB clubs, the majority of which are permitted to fill their parks from 20 to 25 percent capacity. This does fall closely in line with the announced capacity limits for Boston (12 percent) and New York’s two teams (10 percent).
The game will mark the first time fans have been at Nationals Park since Game 5 of the World Series in 2019.
“To me, it seems obvious we can have fans,” Max Scherzer, the Nationals’ likelly opening day starter, said before the announcement. “If we can have indoor dining, I think we can have fans in an outdoor stadium. We have Dr. Fauci advocating for 25-30 percent fans in the stands. That’s where, like I’ve said, I’ll follow the experts. And that’s what you’re doing across the league. Everyone for the most part is trying to follow that 25-30 percent to start the season, and that’s going to be great. We definitely want to see as many Nats fans out there as we safely can. That seems to be probably the most pragmatic way to go about it.”
The Washington Capitals have also submitted a waiver to the DC government to begin hosting fans at Capital One Arena and may have fans at games sometime after March 22.
Here is the Nationals’ full press release.
Washington Nationals announce the return of fans to Nationals Park
Nationals Park to welcome 5,000 fans on Opening Day
The Washington Nationals, with approval from the Government of the District of Columbia and Major League Baseball, today announced that Nationals Park will welcome fans back to the ballpark for the 2021 season, beginning on Opening Day, Thursday, April 1 against the New York Mets. The Opening Day game will be aired nationally on ESPN, with first pitch scheduled for 7:09 p.m. ET.
In accordance with CDC recommendations and MLB protocols, the Nationals will implement appropriate social distancing and safety measures that will allow Nationals Park to host fans beginning on Opening Day. Discussions will begin this week with officials from the District about increasing capacity for the second homestand, which begins April 15.
“We are happy to welcome a limited number of the best fans in baseball back home to Nationals Park on Opening Day,” said Mark D. Lerner, managing principal owner of the Nationals. “Our organization has worked tirelessly with the District of Columbia, nationally-renowned health experts, including Crown & Company, whose principals have guided FIFA and the IOC, and also Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, as well as Major League Baseball, to craft protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of our players, coaches, employees, and our fans as we reopen the ballpark to the public. We look forward to increasing our capacity in the coming weeks. We cannot wait to have our fans in the stands again, wearing red and cheering on the Nats, as we begin our quest for another World Championship.”
Due to the severe capacity limitations, the Nationals will offer priority ticket access to NATS PLUS members based on tenure and ticket package size at this time. NATS PLUS members will receive an email soon with details about their exclusive relocation opportunity. Single game tickets for the general public will be announced at a later date based on availability. Tickets to attend games at Nationals Park this season can only be purchased through Nationals.com or through other online marketplaces. The Nationals will not be offering any hard tickets and all tickets will be delivered digitally through the MLB Ballpark App.
Guests will be able to purchase tickets in pods of 1-6 people and suites will be opened at reduced capacities. In order to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone at Nationals Park, the Nationals will be enforcing new safety measures for fans aimed at creating social distance and eliminating crowding throughout the ballpark at entrances, exits, bathrooms, and concession stands. The complete list of protocols, along with additional details and frequently asked questions, can be found at nationals.com/WelcomeHome. Key new health and safety measures include:
The Nationals will continue to follow the best practices and precautions recommended by public health experts. All 2021 access, benefits, promotions, seating locations, and events (including, without limitation, location, dates, and times) are subject to change without notice based on the ongoing developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The complete 2021 Nationals regular season schedule is available at nationals.com/Schedule.
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