The Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team has received the green light to open Truist Park at 33% capacity when the new season begins next month, while NBA basketball franchise the Milwaukee Bucks has had its capacity limit increased to 18%.

The Braves’ game against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 9 will mark the return of fans to Truist Park for the first time since October 2019. The 33% capacity limit will see around 13,500 fans in attendance.

Capacity will be revisited for each homestand as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve. Braves A-List Members will be given the opportunity to purchase all 14 games in April and secure seats in socially distanced pods.

Socially distanced pods will be set up around the ballpark, primarily with two and four fans each. Fans will be required to wear masks when not actively eating or drinking, with contactless experiences and mobile ticketing and ordering to also be in place.

The Braves have devised a safety plan with the assistance of Emory Healthcare’s infectious disease experts, who have assisted and reviewed the team’s COVID-19 protocols.

Derek Schiller, president and chief executive of the Braves, said: “After a long and difficult year, we are excited to welcome Braves fans back to Truist Park beginning on April 9th. Baseball has had a healing effect over the course of our history, and we look forward to it being a place where our fans can come, have fun and enjoy cheering on their favourite team in a welcoming environment.”

The 2020 MLB regular season was held without fans due to the pandemic. A limited number of fans did return for the post-season, which took place at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers.

The majority of MLB teams are set to open their stadiums at limited capacity when the new season gets underway. The Rangers hit the headlines last week when announcing plans to open the 40,300-seat Globe Life Field at full capacity.

Meanwhile, the Bucks have received approval from the Milwaukee Health Department to expand capacity to 18% at the Fiserv Forum, meaning that approximately 3,280 fans will be able to attend games.

The new capacity restriction will be in place from this Saturday, when the Bucks host the San Antonio Spurs. The Bucks previously had approval for 10% capacity, or approximately 1,800 fans.

As part of the increase, suites and loft spaces inside Fiserv Forum will also be reopening in a limited capacity. The Bucks and Fiserv Forum will continue to work with the Milwaukee Health Department with the hopes of continuing to increase capacity as the season progresses.

Fans will be required to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking. Tickets will continue to be sold in pods of two or four seats to ensure social distancing, and a timed-entry system will also be in operation to reduce the size of groups congregating at entrances.

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