The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds are the latest MLB clubs planning to permit fans to attend games despite COVID-19 concerns.
Per Adrienne Robbins of NBC4 Columbus, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters on Monday that it's believed Cleveland and Cincinnati will be able to fill ballparks to 30% capacity.
BASEBALL FANS: Governor DeWine says they will be announcing later this week news on the number of fans we can expect at outdoor events (Reds, Indians, Columbus Clippers...). @nbc4i— Adrienne Robbins (@ARobbinsTV) February 22, 2021
Governor DeWine says to be clear people would need to be masked. He says with that plus being outside they believe 30% would be a good place to start if they can distance people. @nbc4i— Adrienne Robbins (@ARobbinsTV) February 22, 2021
One thing that could derail this is the UK variant of the coronavirus. That is expected to be the dominant strain in Ohio by end of march and Governor DeWine says we don't really know what's going to happen after that. @nbc4i— Adrienne Robbins (@ARobbinsTV) February 22, 2021
Daryl Ruiter of Cleveland sports radio station 92.3 The Fan provided additional details:
DeWine's update follows National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci telling ESPN's Buster Olney last week that fans could attend baseball games this spring and summer as long as all involved follow health and safety guidelines.
"That we could have people in the stands, maybe not right next to each other; there are going to be public health restrictions like mask-wearing and things like that," Fauci said.
Earlier in the day, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that NFL owners and executives have "a growing sense of optimism" that stadiums could be full at some point this fall. Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker said last week he believes the venue could be filled for the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 5.
"But I think by the time we get to August, we're gonna be ready to go," Baker said at that time. "The vaccine is picking up, obviously the trend line is in the right direction right now. I think the NFL has a wonderful study that they did with the CDC that basically said that there wasn't one infection that could be traced to the 1.2 million people that went to a game."
Judging by protocols implemented by NBA and NHL clubs welcoming paying spectators to games this winter, baseball fans should expect to wear face coverings and abide by social distancing guidelines at ballparks for the foreseeable future.