Fans Return to the Ballpark in the COVID Era
The Atlanta Braves hosted fans at Truist Park Friday night for the first time since 2019.
Last year, MLB teams played a shortened season in front of empty seats as the world responded to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, fans are gradually being welcomed back into stadiums across the professional sports leagues in the country.
But it has not been a complete return to normalcy. At the stadium, reminders of the pandemic were everywhere as the team sought to keep the experience as safe as possible.
Despite many notices and guidelines, it wasn’t always a picture of public health. Many fans did not wear their masks at all times as required, and social distancing broke down in many areas, especially in the shops and restaurants outside of the stadium.
The long-awaited return to Braves baseball drew a sell out crowd, with a caveat. The team only sold tickets to fill 33% of the stadium, which totaled about 15,000 seats. Fans were intentionally spaced out in the stands to accommodate social distancing during the game.
The Braves have clearly noticed the high demand for tickets. While they originally planned to keep capacity at 33% for all of April, they announced an increase to 50% capacity beginning next week.