The 2021 Major League Baseball season is quickly approaching, and teams are beginning to make decisions regarding fan attendance. There is not going to be a unified plan from Major League Baseball; instead, it will be up to each individual team. Most baseball teams this year have worked with their local government and health departments to allow a plan that will let baseball fans, in limited numbers, return to the ballpark.
However, the Texas Rangers announced on Wednesday a plan that significantly differs from other clubs. The Rangers are planning to allow for full capacity of fans to start the season. The Rangers will allow 100 percent occupancy with masks required for fans at Globe Life Field for their Opening Day game on April 5 against the Blue Jays. The team is also set to allow a full capacity for its final two exhibition games vs. the Brewers on March 29 and 30. The Rangers will revert to "Distanced Seating" for home games after Opening Day.
BREAKING: Texas Rangers plan to open to full 40,518 capacity for 2 final exhibition games and Opening Day, with plans to have social-distanced sections available in subsequent games.— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) March 10, 2021
"The Rangers are encouraged that the Governor's Office has given clearance for us to fully open Globe Life Field at the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season," President of Business Operations and Chief Operating Officer Neil Leibman said in a press release Wednesday. "We will require all those who enter Globe Life Field to wear a mask or face covering, and are working with Major League Baseball on some additional protocols required for player health and safety. We will continue to monitor developments and implement the necessary public health measures. We are excited that Rangers fans will finally be able to experience all that Globe Life Field has to offer."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the state's mask mandate and restrictions on gatherings last week in defiance of health officials.
MLB outlined guidelines for allowing fans back into ballparks this year, and at this point, social distancing and mask wearing will be enforced but no vaccine checks or negative COVID-19 test results will be required.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the decision to not allow any fans to games during the abbreviated 2020 regular season, but there were up to 11,500 fans allowed at each postseason game at Globe Life Field last year for the neutral-site NLCS and World Series.