The New York Yankees is set to become the latest Major League Baseball (MLB) team to return to full stadium capacity, while the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed a new attendance record as it did likewise yesterday (Tuesday).

The Yankees announced yesterday that it had received approval from the state, city and MLB to resume normal seating capacity at Yankee Stadium, commencing from Friday’s game against the Oakland Athletics.

Ticketholders will no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination in order to attend games. The announcement came after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted immediately as 70% of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their vaccination series.

The state’s health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines – including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing – are now optional for certain sectors. However, unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing face masks.

The state’s COVID restrictions remain in effect for large-scale indoor event venues – now defined as indoor venues that hold more than 5,000 attendees. The Yankees and the Mets, which have yet to comment on scaling up to full capacity, last month said they would open designated sections for vaccinated supporters and offer free tickets to encourage fans to get the jab after Cuomo announced plans to lift attendance limits at large-scale outdoor venues.

Speaking yesterday, Cuomo said: “What New York has done is extraordinary. Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70% vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation.

“We led with nurse Sandra Lindsay, who was the first at Northwell to take that vaccine and to assure people it was safe. We’ve gone on to do more than 20 million vaccines, more per capita than any big state in the United States of America. Congratulations to New Yorkers because they are the ones who did it.

“We’re no longer just surviving—we’re thriving. The state mandates that have proven right and brought us through this pandemic are relaxed as of today, effective immediately.”

Meanwhile, in California, the Dodgers yesterday claimed the largest crowd for a professional team sports league game in the US since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. A sellout crowd of 52,078 at Dodger Stadium watched the home team defeat Philadelphia Phillies in what was the Dodgers’ 67th game of the 2021 regular season.

The Dodgers were last month one of a number of MLB teams to announce plans to open their ballparks at full capacity.

Image: Nick Fewings on Unsplash