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(WAND)- The St. Louis Cardinals have received approval to welcome fans back to Busch Stadium for the 2021 season, just in time for their home opener. 

"We are excited to have our fans back in the stands for the upcoming season," said Bill DeWitt III, team president. "We thank Mayor Lyda Krewson's office, Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols, and the City of St. Louis Health Department for partnering with us to develop a comprehensive reopening plan that complies with all City health directives and the League's Return-to-Play Protocols."

Fans will be able to fill the stadium up to 32% of its actual capacity. The stadium holds 46,000 seats, which means only 14,720 tickets will be available per game.

According to the Cardinal organization, tickets for April home games will be on sale soon, and season ticket holders will get the first opportunity to get tickets for the first two games.

If seats are still available, ticket on-sale dates for the general public will be determined and announced at a later date.

Several protocols have been set in place to ensure the health and safety of fans, employees, and players, including:

  • Socially-distanced seating: Guests will be seated in pods of four or less with a minimum distance of 6-feet between seating pods in all directions.
  • Masks required: Masks will be required at all times in all areas of the stadium, including the seating bowl unless guests are actively eating and drinking.
  • Mobile-only ticketing: All game tickets will be delivered via the MLB Ballpark app, ensuring a touchless entry into the ballpark.
  • Cashless transactions: Concession stands, kiosks, and other retail transactions made in the stadium will be cashless and only offer credit and debit payment options. Debit cards will be available for purchase using cash with no service fees at a limited number of locations inside the stadium.
  • Designated entry gates: Guests will be directed to enter and exit the stadium through one of six designated entry gates to expedite the process and limit crowding at any one entrance. A designated entry gate will be noted on each ticket. Guests will not be permitted to exit and re-enter the stadium.
  • Bags not permitted: To reduce contamination and ensure touchless entry, bags will not be permitted to be brought in to Busch Stadium, except for medical or diaper bags.
  • Hand sanitizer: Hand sanitizer dispensers will be widely available throughout the ballpark.
  • Staff health screenings: All full-time employees and event staff will be subject to health and temperature screenings before entering the stadium.

Additional changes will be implemented to ticketing, concessions, and retail operations to further reduce touch points among staff and guests, the release stated.

"Busch Stadium's vast open-air footprint, six entry gates, and wide concourses gives us the ability to create the safest environment possible for guests to root on the Cardinals this year," said Matt Gifford, vice president of stadium operations. "We've all missed the fans at the ballpark and are confident that all fans will adhere to these policies for an outstanding game day experience."

In other efforts, Busch Stadium has also updated its HVAC systems by replacing filters in the ballpark to MERV 13 to ensure cleaner air in any enclosed spaces. 

The organization said it will "continuously evaluate all guidelines, seek guidance from local and Major League Baseball health experts, and adjust policies or protocols as necessary."

For the full list of health and safety protocols for the 2021 season, visit the Cardinals' "Back to Busch" plan here.

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