The latest on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The Kansas City Royals plan to allow a limited number of fans to return to Kauffman Stadium when the baseball season kicks off next month, the team said Thursday.
The Royals will initially have 10,000 fans per game, sitting in socially distant, pod-style arrangements. The number of fans will increase on a monthly basis if it is safe, the royals said in a press release.
Team officials have worked with Kansas City health officials and the Jackson County Sports Authority for months to ensure fans have a safe experience, the team said.
Royals manager Mike Matheny said he and his team are thrilled to have fans back after playing in front of empty stadiums last season.
“Words cannot describe how excited we all are to be able to open our home … in front of as many of our blue-clad fans as protocols allow,” he said. “It will be a completely different environment than last year and it will make our sport and our life a little more normal.”
The Royals open the season on April 1st at home against the Texas Rangers.
The Big Ten will allow a limited number of fans to compete in the men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments in Indianapolis next week.
Entry is limited to 2,500 in the women’s tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and 8,000 in the men’s tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium, subject to approval by local health authorities.
Each tournament lasts five days, with women starting on Tuesday and men starting on Wednesday.
Fans must wear face masks at the venues unless they are actively consuming food or drink.
The International Ice Hockey Federation has provisionally scheduled the women’s world championship for mid-May after the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The IIHF pushed back the women’s world with 10 teams from April 7th to 17th to May 6th to 16th in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia. IIHF President Rene Fasel told The Associated Press Monday the organization was considering delaying in hopes that restrictions will be relaxed by then.
“Our organization knows that it will have strict support from all participating associations in complying with the final health and safety plan, which includes quarantine, COVID-19 testing, individual isolation, masking, adequate hygiene and social Distancing focused. ” Scott Smith, President and CEO of Hockey Canada, said Thursday. “Hosting a successful World Cup this season means ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved, which remains our top priority.”
The Milwaukee Brewers will have a limited number of fans at home games this season.
The Brewers announced Thursday that Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson approved a plan that will allow fans to fill 25% of the seating capacity at American Family Field, the stadium formerly known as Miller Park.
That could mean 10,500 fans in the stadium, which has a capacity of 41,900, excluding group areas.
The brewers had tried to allow a capacity of 35%.
Rick Schlesinger, president of business operations at Brewers, said in a statement that the team “will continue to communicate with city officials and work towards increasing capacity as health data continues to improve”.
Tailgating is not allowed outside the stadium at the beginning of the season, a great tradition for Brewers fans.
The St. Louis Cardinals say they have received city approval to fill Busch Stadium to 32% capacity, starting with their home on April 8 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
That could be 14,500 fans at the Busch Stadium with a capacity of 45,538.
According to Dr. Fredrick Echols, city health director, new COVID-19 infections have declined and the positivity rate in St. Louis has dropped below 5% for the first time since mid-September.
“The Cardinals organization has worked hard to create and maintain a safe environment for employees and fans. Wearing face covering, social distancing, cleaning and other infectious disease control measures that they have put in place for the stadium should move us in the right direction, ”Echols said in a press release.
Season ticket holders will get the first crack in tickets for the first two home countries and then the general public if the tickets are left. The Cardinals said fans will be seated in pods of four or less with a minimum of 6 feet between the pods. Masks are required except when eating or drinking.
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