Salem Red Sox, other outdoor venues to host 30% fan capacity

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 3:48 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - With a quarter of all Virginians at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) is easing health and safety restrictions.

The latest beneficiaries are outdoor sports and entertainment venues.

“Now, as we look to ease those measures, we’re focused on places where there’s the least risk for spread,” said Northam at a press briefing Tuesday.

This comes following a letter Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA, 6th District) sent to Northam requesting larger capacity limits at high school football games.

“I’ve heard from principals who say that they can’t even afford to pay the refs because the ticket sales are so weak due to his restrictions,” said Cline.

For the Salem Red Sox, the eased capacity restrictions, which take effect April 1, mean fans can fill the ballpark up to 30%. Outdoor entertainment venues will no longer have a cap of 1,000 attendees.

“It’s wonderful.” said Salem Red Sox General Manager Allen Lawrence. “It certainly beats the heck out of last year when we didn’t have anybody and didn’t have any baseball to play, so honestly, we’re just thankful to have whoever we can have, but 30% is certainly a step in the right direction.”

At Salem Memorial Ballpark, tickets for up to 1,900 fans will be sold in socially-distanced pods. Masks and other requirements, still to be determined by Major League Baseball, will also likely be in place.

“Everybody will have to be socially-distanced at six feet, each pod will, so that takes us up to about 30%, so the 30% number is a pretty nice number that the governor put out. It works well within our configuration,” said Lawrence.

The Sox home opener will be May 11.

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