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Miami Marlins set to welcome back fans

The Miami Marlins Major League Baseball team has detailed plans to open Marlins Park at around 25% capacity when the 2021 season gets underway in April.

Marlins Park has a capacity of 37,000, meaning that around 9,300 fans would be able to attend the team’s opening day game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 1.

The Marlins are set to announce a number of measures to ensure fans’ safe return to the stadium and the team is pursuing the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Marlins Park through the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is designed to guide users in preparing venues for re-entry amid COVID-19. A number of venues have been awarded the rating in recent months, including Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, home of the NBA’s 76ers and the NHL’s Flyers.

Marlins Park will join Yankee Stadium as MLB facilities to enrol in the WELL Health-Safety Rating. BB&T Center, home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, has also been awarded the rating.

Marlins Park will be awarded the rating following the successful completion of third-party documentation review by the GBCI to confirm the team has met the specific intents and requirements.

Michael Shaw, head of experience and innovation for the Marlins, said: “The health and safety of our fans and guests, along with our players, coaches and staff, is of the utmost importance to our organisation. Certifying Marlins Park with the WELL Health-Safety Rating should further build guest confidence in the preventative measures being applied to fan experiences throughout the ballpark.”

Discussing the Marlins’ initial plans for fan attendance, chief executive Derek Jeter said: “We hope that those numbers increase throughout the course of the season, but I will say the most important thing for us is to make sure that everyone is healthy and everyone is safe, and that includes the players, the coaches, the front office, but the fans as well.”

No fans were allowed during the 2020 MLB regular season, although a limited number of spectators were permitted for post-season games at Globe Life Field, the new home of the Texas Rangers. The Marlins’ average attendance in 2018 and 2019 was around 10,000 – the lowest in the league.

Image: Roberto Coquis/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size