Wrigley to host limited number of fans

Cubs approved by state and city to welcome 20 percent capacity

March 8th, 2021

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs players have expressed this spring that having fans in the stands has brought a much welcomed feeling of normalcy. Come Opening Day, they will be welcomed home by fans at Wrigley Field.

On Monday, the Cubs announced that they have been approved to host a limited-capacity crowd (20 percent) to begin the regular season, following approvals from the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago. The Cubs will have an opportunity to increase the number of fans at the Friendly Confines throughout the year.

"You can't get any better than that. Fans back in the stands," Cubs manager David Ross said after hearing the news on Monday. "It's already been nice here in Arizona, just to hear the cheers and the heckling. Yeah, I'm super excited about that."

The Cubs gained clearance from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, and they will be subject to further approvals in the team's efforts to increase capacity. The club has developed a detailed plan for welcoming players, staff and fans back in a safe manner in the upcoming campaign.

The Cubs used guidelines from MLB, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago in order to put together their sanitation plans, rules and protocols for all those entering the Friendly Confines this summer.

"To welcome Cubs fans home to Wrigley Field and bring back one of the joys of spring after a challenging year is incredibly rewarding," Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said in a release. "We'd like to thank Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot for their tremendous leadership in carefully navigating this important milestone and partnering with us on our plan to safely return fans to the ballpark."

The Cubs plan on starting off with limited-capacity, pod-style seating to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. Masks will be required for all Wrigley Field guests who are two years or older. There will be a touchless entry screening process, tickets available exclusively via mobile ticketing and cashless retail and concessions.

"Our goal is to create a safe, clean and friendly environment for everyone to enjoy Cubs baseball beginning Opening Day," Kenney said.

Last year, Ross lived walking distance from Wrigley Field and said there was a dramatic difference in the neighborhood compared to previous seasons on game days.

"It was just an empty feeling, just because it was," Ross said.

Known for his high level of energy and emotion, Javier Báez has been vocal about how he felt the lack of fans may have actually impacted his play on the field. Needless to say, everyone around the team is looking forward to getting more fans safely back into Wrigleyville and into the seats this year.

"Even though it's only 20 percent, that's a good start," Cubs veteran Jake Arrieta said. "Wrigley is such an amazing attraction for the city. And to have that taken away from not only the fans and the players, but just the local businesses and the local economy -- it was tough all around the country, all around the world for a lot of people. For our sport, it kind of hit closer to home for all of us.

"Hopefully, we're able to slowly get back into a situation where we can get close to capacity at Wrigley. And get back to normal. But, we have to take it slow and we've been dealing with something very serious."

As a thank you for all the work done over the past year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Cubs plan on hosting vaccinated healthcare workers and employees from Advocate Aurora Health in the bleachers as part of the Opening Day celebration.

The Cubs will give season-ticket holders priority access to secure tickets in advance of the general public, beginning March 15. The team is also offering a Return to Wrigley Presale Access Program, giving fans a chance to register for random ticket drawings in an effort to provide more fans with a chance to get to Wrigley Field in 2021.

The Cubs have set March 19 as the cutoff date for the first drawing. Winners will have a chance to purchase a limited number of tickets on March 23 for the first homestand, with remaining tickets going on sale to the general public the following day. The Cubs are also planning on having spaces for groups of eight or more (details to come).

"You've got this museum there that nobody could get in and appreciate except for players," Ross said. "It's exciting to get back to some sense of normal and having some fans there, and just cheers and getting a little bit of that atmosphere back around that area will be great for everybody."