New York state is lifting occupancy limits for vaccinated fans attending Mets and Yankees games as part of the major reopening push, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The new rules allow vaccinated fans, as well as their children under age 16, to sit in special seating sections at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in the Bronx and Flushing, respectively. The fans would still be required to wear face coverings.
Unvaccinated fans attending the games will be seated in sections with a 33% occupancy limit and a six-foot social distance rule.
Further, fans will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine at the stadiums, and those taking the shot will receive a free ticket to a game, Cuomo said.
“It’s on your way. Stop and get your vaccine,” he added.
The move comes after New York, New Jersey and Connecticut officials announced occupancy limits would be lifted for restaurants, theaters, retail stores and other businesses beginning May 19.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the new capacity rules would also apply to minor-league baseball teams as well as the Toronto Blue Jays, which announced Wednesday they would return to Buffalo’s Sahlen Field for games in June.
The Blue Jays’ initial plan was to sell tickets at 24% capacity, as announced by the team a couple hours prior to Cuomo’s announcement.
The Mets and Yankees were the first MLB teams to offer separate seating sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans. In contrast, the Texas Rangers have opened Globe Field to full capacity.
Last season, Major League Baseball’s 30 franchises played games without fans while adhering to local guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. The return of fans this spring began slowly with most teams restricting capacity to between 20% and 30%.
New York’s latest plan to get more fans into Mets and Yankees games comes as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continued to drop statewide. The test positivity rate was 1.49% Tuesday, the lowest level since late October. Hospitalizations declined to 2,458, drastically down from the nearly 9,000 during the winter surge peak in mid-January.