PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Baseball is back in Peoria this summer.
The Chiefs play their first home game at Dozer Park on Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of pent-up energy I think in society and for baseball fans,” said Ben Garrod, the team’s Chief Revenue Officer.
Minor League canceled last year’s season due to the pandemic.
“620 days is a long time without baseball,” Garrod said.
But Garrod said the season is here and fans can see.
“For the month of May, in our first two home stalls here, we will stay at 25 percent capacity,” Garrod said. He said the capacity limit still allows around 1,000 fans in the stadium bowl.
Garrod said fans will have to wear masks at play unless they eat or drink. He said some rows and seats have been cordoned off to help people at a distance. Nearby businesses still expect the games to attract a crowd.
“With the games, more people are coming to this area, and they are starting to visit us again, so it’s much better for us,” said Carla Zamora-Vargas, owner of House of Art.
As more people are vaccinated this summer, some have high hopes for a tough business year.
“I think we’ve seen a trend that more and more people are coming out and like to come out,” said Elliot Lambdin, the leader of Bearded Owl Brewing.
He said the games could be useful and expand the whole area.
“Chiefs are back in season, and more and more companies are popping up down here,” Lambdin said.
Garrod said commanders could adjust some capacity limits if COVID-19 restrictions eased. He said it could increase capacity to up to 60 percent in June, but said capacity will not change for any of the games in May.