With a perfect 9-0 record at Yankee Stadium and a two-game lead over the rest of the American League East, the New York Yankees are hoping to add a new wrinkle soon to their 2020 campaign: fans in the stands. The team is hopeful that it will be able to begin to allow limited numbers of spectators at Yankee Stadium beginning in September.
Per NorthJersey.com, the club has been working on its plans for allowing spectators, and is ready as soon as the state of New York gives them the green light. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has permitted New York City museums and cultural institutions to reopen with 25 percent capacity as of August 24. In addition to the local authority sign-off, the team would need to seek the approval of Major League Baseball as well before any fans would be allowed through the turnstiles.
New York was the epicenter of the early coronavirus spread in the United States, with cases exploding beginning in March. Bronx county, where the team plays its games, has seen 51,655 cases and 4,880 deaths, one of eight counties in Greater NYC to have seen more than 1,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Progression of the pandemic in the region has been dramatically slowed, with the 7-day moving average of new cases below 1,000 statewide since mid-June after being above 5,000 a day for more than a month between late March and early May. California, Florida and Texas have all surpassed New York’s statewide total of cases.
Should the team be waved home with its plan for fans by state authorities and MLB, it is unclear how many fans would be permitted in the building. The team has reportedly been working with its ticketing vendor Ticketmaster to build out its system for social distancing within the ballpark.
At full capacity Yankee Stadium can host 54,251 fans. Assuming 25 percent capacity similar to cultural institutions, the club would be allowed to have as many as 13,000 – though it’s likely that authorities would start at a far lower number out of caution.