Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced new rules for baseball fans in New York — saying the Mets and Yankees can open sections of their stadiums at full capacity May 19, but only for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Separate sections of unvaccinated attendees at ballparks across the Empire State — including minor league stadiums — will be restricted to 33 percent capacity with social distancing of 6 feet, the governor explained during a press briefing at his Manhattan office.
All fans will still be required to wear face masks at stadiums regardless of vaccination status.
If a person is vaccinated it’s “normal capacity,” Cuomo said. “Sit next to each other in a section, sit next to your friend, sit next to your family. Just normal capacity.”
Children under 16 — who have not yet been approved to receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines in the US — can accompany vaccinated attendees, according to the governor.
The new rules will do away with the previous state mandate that required attendees to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test ahead of a game.
Additionally, the Mets and Yankees have teamed up with the state Department of Health so that attendees can get vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose shot at both Citi Field and Yankee Stadium during games, Cuomo said.
“We will set up at the game, a facility, as you’re going in, come a little bit earlier and get your vaccine at the game. You’re going to the game anyway. It’s on your way, stop and get a vaccine,” said Cuomo.
If a baseball fan gets a vaccine at a game, “You can get a free ticket to a [future] Yankees or Mets game,” Cuomo added.
The governor insisted that the state’s new baseball stadium seating plan is “not segregation.”
“We have social distancing rules,” he said. “We have requirements now in restaurants as to capacity and we have rules if you’re vaccinated then X, if you’re not then Y and they are based on public health parameters.”
The Yankees, in a statement Wednesday, thanked Cuomo “for his decision” and said it will “allow more fans into Yankee Stadium and provide us additional opportunities to further encourage people to get vaccinated.”
“If we can encourage more people to get vaccinated by giving away Yankees tickets, we are all in,” the team said.
The Yankees also thanked Mayor Bill de Blasio, “who also gave his strong support for this program.”
In February, both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field opened as coronavirus vaccination mega-sites.