NEW YORK -- In conjunction with the Mets and Yankees, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, among other large outdoor sporting venues across the state, will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity beginning April 1. That means as many as 8,492 fans can attend the Mets’ home opener on April 8.
To gain admission to Citi Field, fans must present a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination.
Those requirements could change over the course of the season.
“As the COVID rates continue to improve, capacity rates will continue to increase,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo made the announcement alongside representatives from both New York teams, including Yankees president Randy Levine, Mets vice chairman Andy Cohen, and former pitchers CC Sabathia and Al Leiter, who spoke about the importance of having fans in the stands.
“I’m just thrilled that fans will get a chance to get back in the stadium,” Leiter said. “There’s no doubt about it: When you’re playing in front of a big crowd and they’re cheering you or they’re booing you, man, there’s nothing like it.”
To accommodate the New York State Department of Health’s requirements, the Mets will take several precautions before allowing fans into Citi Field:
• Stadium access will require proof of either a full vaccine (two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson), or proof of a negative PCR or antigen (rapid test).
• Paper tickets will not be accepted; all tickets will be delivered via the MLB Ballpark app on mobile devices.
• Face masks will be required for all fans aged 2 and older.
• All concession purchases will be cashless. Guests may use credit/debit cards or mobile payment methods.
• Citi Field workers will sanitize the ballpark after every game, and will disinfect high-touch areas during games.
In addition, previously purchased tickets to all April home games will no longer be valid. Fans holding those tickets will receive credit for future purchases. Full information on the Mets’ ticketing policy is available at http://www.mets.com/2021updates.
“We’re really excited about the season ahead and welcoming the best fans in baseball back -- safely -- to Citi Field,” Mets owner Steve Cohen said in a statement. “We thank Gov. Cuomo and the state’s Department of Health for their efforts in this significant step in New York’s recovery from COVID and look forward to continuing to work with them as capacity restrictions and testing requirements hopefully ease in the months ahead -- to allow as many fans as possible to have a safe and great time with us.”
Mets players have already received a taste of life with fans back in the stands, playing in front of more than 1,000 each day in Spring Training. In addition, the Mets and Nationals will play Opening Day in front of 5,000 fans in Washington, D.C., on April 1.
One week later, on April 8 at Citi Field, the Mets will see their largest crowd since September 2019.
“We can’t wait for those days to get here,” manager Luis Rojas said. “I know we start on the road, but once we get home and we have that 20 percent, that’s just going to be outstanding. Just to hear the support live again, that’s something that we’ve missed very, very much. So that’s going to mean a lot to everybody.”
The plan for Citi Field and Yankee Stadium was part of a wider announcement detailing New York State’s plan to allow outdoor venues with room for at least 2,500 people to open at 20 percent capacity, and indoor venues with room for at least 1,500 to open at 10 percent capacity beginning April 1.
For many, the announcement has been a year in the making. Leiter compared the anxious energy to the Mets’ first game following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, saying he remembers how much baseball meant to New York City.
“I’m very excited about the news today,” Cuomo said. “It has been a long, dark winter. It has been a long, dark year. It’s been the darkest experience we’ve gone through in generations. … But it’s coming to an end. It’s coming to an end. Spring is upon us.”