sports venues
A man arrives to receive the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine outside Citi Field, the home stadium of MLB's New York Mets, during the coronavirus disease pandemic in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo shunned the press Thursday in an announcement that he would be allowing greater capacity for sports venues with Vice Chairman of the New York Mets, Andy Cohen, and other stakeholders.

On April 1, the governor will be allowing indoor sports venues to operate at a max of 10% and 20% in outdoor venues such as Citi Field as long as fans in attendance prove that they have received a negative COVID-19 test in the past 72 hours prior to the game, or if they have a vaccination card.

“As time moves on, and as our experience grows, we see how the games work. We then right away do what’s called contact tracing where we follow up on the game to see if anybody got infected etc,” Cuomo said. “And I think you’re going to see the capacity increase and the testing requirements decrease as we get more evidence, but we want to start safe and smart. That means Citi Field at 384 fans, Yankee Stadium at 10,850 fans. The crowd makes the ballgame.”

According to Al Leiter, a former player for the team, a return to the stadium was reminiscent of the questions surrounding gathering a big crowd after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

“But I remember what baseball meant, and we weren’t sure… about whether it was the right thing to come back after the heinous tragedy of the World Trade Center on 9/11,” Leiter said. “I’ll tell you, folks, the fact that we did and when we did, and wearing those hats of all the respective first responders, and knowing how special it was as players at the time to be carrying the baton as a major league baseball player, and being in New York City, it was the right thing.”

Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers to practice social distancing and to vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to keep the infection rate low.

Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, however, are currently serving as mass vaccination sites for New York City residents and how games could conflict with these operations was not made clear.

This story first appeared on amNY.com.

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