COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Gov. Mike DeWine said the state’s baseball season could start with 30 percent capacity for fans in stadiums come this spring.
However, there are some caveats the governor put in place in order to allow teams, including the Columbus Clippers, to have fans in the stands.
During his coronavirus briefing Monday, DeWine said he spoke with both major league and minor league teams across the state over the weekend.
“We know all of these teams are eager to start doing their planning,” he said.
The governor expects the state to be around the 30 percent mark of Ohio’s population having started the COVID-19 vaccine process by the start of the baseball season.
In order to have fans, teams must have social distancing and require masks.
“The target figure we think, that we’re going to be able to start with, is 30 percent,” DeWine said.
One caution, according to the governor, is the COVID-19 variant that has been found in the state.
“Our best medical information is that it very well could become the dominant, could become dominant in Ohio by the latter part of March,” he said. “We don’t really know what’s going to happen after that.”
New strains of the virus have been shown to be more contagious than the initial virus. However, medical experts continue to maintain that the current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the new strains that have been discovered.
Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to begin April 1, with most minor league teams starting their seasons May 4.
“What we have told them is we want to see your plan and we’ll review the plan,” DeWine said. “Your local health department, the county health department will review the plan as well.”
The governor said a formal announcement is scheduled for Thursday.
DeWine said his administration remains optimistic for fans in the stands this baseball season.
“We’re looking at a summer where more and more people are going to be vaccinated every day,” he said. “We’re mask-wearing inside a ball park. If that can occur, we think 30 percent is a reasonable place to start.”
The governor added that a similar plan will be in place for the state’s Major League Soccer teams, including the Columbus Crew SC.