NEW YORK -- New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a further easing of restrictions for outdoor stadiums including Citi Field. But the Mets are still determining what exactly that will mean for them in terms of increased capacity.
At a press conference in Syracuse, N.Y., Cuomo said that outdoor stadiums can increase their capacity from 20 to 33 percent beginning on May 19. That would theoretically allow the Mets to host as many as 14,011 fans beginning with their six-game homestand against the Rockies and Braves from May 24-30. However, the Mets still must comply with New York State’s related social distancing order, which requires pods of seats to be six feet apart from one another. That is not physically possible at Citi Field once the capacity increases beyond 22 percent.
As such, the Mets expect to increase their capacity at least from 20 to 22 percent, or to a maximum of 9,341 people, by May 24.
“The arrows are all pointed in the right direction,” Cuomo said. “We just have to keep the arrows pointed in the right direction, and that is a function of what we do. As hellacious as this has been, as complicated as COVID is … it’s still simple in the final analysis.
“I look at New York as an extended family. It’s a family of New York. We get vaccinated. We behave smartly. We will control the spread of the virus, which is just what we’re doing.”
In addition to capacity restrictions, New York State has required attendees of stadium events to produce a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination to enter, among other requirements.
The Mets have only actually sold out of one game this season -- their home opener on April 8 -- despite the capacity restrictions. They averaged 7,988 fans per game last weekend in a three-game set against the Nationals.
Even so, having fans in the stands has transformed the atmosphere at Citi Field. With Jacob deGrom pitching a career game last Friday night, an announced crowd of 8,130 made itself seem many times larger and louder than that.
“That was definitely cool,” deGrom said. “Going a whole year of playing without fans, and then when I walked out there, it sounded like the place was full. New York fans, Mets fans have been great to me. I can’t thank them enough for the support that they’ve given me.”