The Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball team has detailed plans for a phased return to full capacity at Target Field after State Governor Tim Waltz announced a timeline to end nearly all COVID-19 restrictions by May 28.

The previous capacity limit for outdoor venues in the state was 27%, which equates to around 10,000 fans at Target Field. The first step of the team’s process to return to a full house will see Target Field operate at an increased capacity for Twins games between May 14 and May 30.

Tickets for these next 12 home games will still be sold in pods of two or four seats, but fans will now also be seated in the middle of rows and in locations nearer the aisles. Fans will be limited to buying 20 tickets per game.

The Twins will provide details of tickets for games beyond May 30, when full capacity is set to be allowed, in the coming days. Fans who purchase tickets for games in May will receive priority access for future 2021 games, when available.

Waltz’s announcement was made with more than 2.6 million Minnesotans having received their COVID-19 vaccination, with the state on track to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of June. The state’s plan to ease restrictions will see all remaining capacity and distancing limits come to an end on May 28.

In other news, the NFL’s Washington Football Team has signalled its intention to open FedEx Field at full capacity when the 2021 season gets underway in September.

Washington did not welcome fans to the 82,000-seat stadium for the entirety of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 restrictions. The team said it would continue to deploy safety and public health measures at the stadium to ensure the return of fans next season.

The state of Maryland currently permits outdoor venues to operate at 50% capacity. FedEx Field recently operated a voting site for the Peruvian elections and also staged the team’s NFL Draft Night party. The stadium also hosted Catholic University’s graduation ceremony at the weekend and all events adhered to strict COVID-19 protocols.

Plans to open the stadium at full capacity next season come amid rising vaccination rates and a decrease in COVID-19 infection rates throughout the region. To mark the announcement, Washington will waive all single-game ticket fees for the first 24 hours from 8pm on Wednesday, when the 2021 schedule is released.

Washington joins the Dallas Cowboys as the two NFL teams to have confirmed plans to open at full capacity next season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously said that he expects to have full venues across the league in 2021.

Image: Ken Lund/CC BY-SA 2.0/Edited for size