Exactly one year after the pandemic gripped communities across the globe and halted the baseball industry, the Orioles announced March 12 plans to welcome fans back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the 2021 season. In observation of social distancing guidelines and approved capacity limits, the club will begin the season by hosting approximately 11,000 fans per game, operating at 25 percent capacity. As the public health situation improves, the Orioles will consult with the City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, and the Maryland Stadium Authority to increase attendance numbers while continuing to prioritize public health and safety throughout the ballpark.
The Orioles are continuing their diligent efforts that began last season, in which the medical staff administered hundreds of tests each week and successfully kept players on the field, by partnering with Major League Baseball, city officials, and the state government to implement extensive health protocols that will ensure the safety of fans and the entire Birdland community.
“The long-awaited return of fans is the result of successful nation-wide and organizational efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, increase vaccination access for millions of Americans, and strengthen our economy by bringing employees back to work,” said John Angelos, Orioles Chairman and CEO. “Just as we did in 2020, the Orioles will remain vigilant in our efforts and will continue to consult medical experts every step of the way as we invite fans back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to enjoy another successful baseball season.”
“The Orioles play a critical role in our roadmap to recovery and the team’s dedication to the safety of our community is what will allow us to take that first step in welcoming fans back into the ballpark,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “We will work closely with the Orioles to ensure the proper guidelines are in place for fans to safely enjoy America’s favorite pastime and educate fans on the importance of getting vaccinated.”
“Sustaining the health and safety of Baltimore residents is my number one priority, but achieving this requires an all-hands-on-deck effort. I am grateful to have the Baltimore Orioles as a trusted partner as our community works tirelessly to control the spread of COVID-19,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. “The Orioles have been a part of our community for decades, and I am confident that the organization will protect the health of their fans by following the safety guidelines set forth by the City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, and Major League Baseball.”
In accordance with MLB’s return-to-play policies, the club will implement “pod” seating throughout the ballpark to guarantee proper social distancing of six feet between each group of ticket holders. To properly adhere to pod seating requirements, the reseating process for Birdland Memberships will begin immediately. Members will be notified via email with information regarding any possible impacts on their seats due to limited capacity. Once the reseating process is complete, an announcement will be made regarding the public on-sale for single game tickets, with the exception of Opening Day, which will be reserved for Birdland Members. To purchase a Birdland Membership and receive priority access to Opening Day, please visit Orioles.com/Memberships.
Throughout the season, the Orioles will promote vaccination education and crucial public health messaging to fans. The team will also invite local frontline and health care workers to select games in honor of their selfless dedication to our community during the COVID-19 pandemic by allocating a number of tickets for the staff of the Baltimore City Health Department, John’s Hopkins Hospital, the University of Maryland Medical Center, MedStar Health, Sinai Hospital, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and Mercy Medical Center.
All fans will be required to adhere to the club’s gameday health and safety policies while at the ballpark. These protocols, created in coordination with MLB, the CDC, and public health officials, will require fans to wear masks properly (covering the nose and mouth) at all times, unless eating or drinking at their assigned seating location. Neck gaiters and masks with exhalation valves are not permitted. Social distancing practices and enhanced security measures will also be enforced upon entry and throughout the ballpark.
Fans will be required to utilize digital ticketing for easy and contactless entry to the ballpark. Fans can access tickets and parking passes on their mobile device through the MLB Ballpark App, logging in with the same email address that was used to purchase the tickets.
Additionally, Oriole Park will not accept any cash payments this season. To limit touch points, credit or debit cards will be the only method of payment throughout the ballpark, including at parking lots, concession stands, and ticket windows.
At this time, gates will open to fans one hour before first pitch and batting practice will conclude prior to gates opening in an effort to reduce the potential for congregation among fans. Kids Run the Bases will also be cancelled for the time being, as the field must remain a secure location for players, coaches, and limited staff members. Any changes to these policies will be communicated as the season progresses.
The Orioles will begin the 2021 regular season on the road against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, April 1. The team will return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the home opener on Thursday, April 8, against the Boston Red Sox at 3:05 p.m.
Updates to the Oriole Park guidelines and ticket policies will be communicated throughout the season. To learn more about the club’s Gameday Health & Safety policies, please visit Orioles.com/WelcomeBack.
— Baltimore Orioles press release
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