The baseball season started Thursday in the United States. This year, during this “opening day” of Major League Baseball (MLB), all eyes were on the stands rather than on the fields. And with good reason. The audience has been allowed to come to the stadium for the first time since the end of the 2019 season.
This was the case in the Bronx, New York, where life is back at Yankee Stadium, which still serves as a parallel vaccination site. The fighting will no longer take place behind closed doors. But the club says it has prioritized health and has closely followed the guidelines and safety protocol against Covid.
To prepare for the arrival of fans, the Yankees worked closely with New York State and City, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Major League Baseball and health and safety experts. They were thus able to put in place the best possible strategy to ensure health security in their premises.
Only 20% of 50,291 seats will be occupied at the beginning of the season, and small groups of spectators will be separated by empty seats. Covid-related signage was displayed throughout the building, including on hundreds of TVs at all levels in the entrance area. Hand sanitizers are installed in all areas visited by the public.
Biden was opposed
Fans who were lucky enough to enter the stadium had to either show a negative PCR test performed during the last 72 hours or be fully vaccinated. In addition, everyone has also been subjected to a temperature control at the turn changes at the entrance, and must always wear a mask, except when eating or drinking.
Joe Biden spoke on ESPN and sent a message to sports fans: “People must be responsible. They must continue to wear a mask when they are near someone. “You have a patriotic duty to protect the people around you,” he said. He also criticized the Texas Rangers, who will open their stadium next week with 100% capacity. They will therefore be able to accommodate 49,170 spectators. “It’s not reasonable,” he said.
(The essential / Claude-Alain Zufferey)