COLUMBUS (WJW) — Cleveland Indians fans will soon find out more about the state’s plans to allow for in-person sports this spring and summer.
“We’re going to have an announcement on the later, later on this week,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a press conference Monday. “I was on the phone this weekend talking in general talking to the Reds, the Indians and the other minor league baseball teams around this state and I wanted this early as I could because we know that they’re planning.”
With Major League Baseball starting April 1, and minor league teams starting after that, DeWine said he wants to see teams’ plans to keep fans safe if in-person sporting events are allowed.
“We think we’re gonna be around 30 percent [capacity],” DeWine said. “We anticipate having an announcement on Thursday.”
DeWine said he’s pretty confident this can be done if everyone is masked and social distancing rules are in place.
“What we hope is we start at 30% and go from there, but the caution I convey is we don’t know about this variant,” said DeWine, explaining that medical experts are saying that the coronavirus variant could be dominant near the end of March.
Progressive Field’s capacity is set for 35,041 fans, so a 30% capacity would allow for 10,512 people at the park.
“We’re optimistic,” he said. “We’re looking at a summer where more and more people are going to be vaccinated every day and where mask wearing inside a ball park … if that can occur, we think 30% is a reasonable place to start.”
Cleveland Indians leadership has already said they are working with the Cleveland Clinic to come up with safety guidelines for visitors to Progressive Field this season.
The team issued a statement following DeWine’s announcement:
The Cleveland Indians are excited at the prospect of playing host to fans at Progressive Field in April 2021. While we finalize our health and safety protocols in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic, local and state officials over the next few days, we did begin communication to Season Ticket Holders today regarding our proposed plans to accommodate fans this season.Cleveland Indians leadership
The Lake County Captains General Manager Jen Yorko also weighed in, offering this statement from the team:
We are excited for the 2021 season and wish to welcome our fans, staff and players back to a safe and fun environment, while following guidance from local authorities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been working with our local health department to make sure we have adequate social distancing, cleaning and safety procedures. We’re also working on new concessions procedures so fans can order their food and drinks remotely from their seats, via a smartphone app. We can’t wait for baseball to return to Eastlake!Lake County Captains