New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will begin to offer normal seating for fully vaccinated fans and give a free ticket to people who get a COVID-19 shot at the ballparks’ vaccination sites.
People in vaccinated sections will still have to wear masks, but they won’t have to observe social distancing. Children who aren’t eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine yet can sit with their families if they have a face covering.
Unvaccinated persons must sit six feet apart in sections with one-third capacity.
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said the new seating system will take effect May 19, which coincides with the lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions in the state. He said theoretically, the entire stadium could be filled under the new criteria if fans were “100%-vaccinated.”
“The crowd brings the rhythm, the crowd brings the dynamic into the stadium, right?” the governor said.
The ball clubs said vaccinating fans on game days and giving them a free ticket is a win-win for the state, which wants to bolsters public health, and their franchise, which is looking to bring in more fans.
The stadiums are offering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, so fans won’t have to schedule a return appointment.
“Basically, you come to the game, as the governor said. You take a vaccine shot, you get a voucher — you can go to that game. If that game’s sold out, you can go tomorrow night, go to a game of your choice,” said Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, said at Mr. Cuomo’s press conference.
The move comes as state and federal officials try to entice more Americans to get vaccinated, as demand for the shots slows down.
Sandy Alderson, team president of the New York Mets, said he wants more families to make “indelible” memories at the ballpark, saying he still remembers his first game at age 9 between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.
“You’ll be happy to know that even then I rooted against the Yankees,” he said.