“We were very encouraged that the Governor’s Office has given clearance for us to fully open Globe Life Field at the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season,” Neil Leibman, Rangers president of business operations and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We’re fully confident that we can do this is in a responsible and safe way. There is so much pent-up demand for people wanting to go to events in a safe environment.”
Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) rescinded all pandemic restrictions in the state, eliminating mask mandates and allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity. That opened the door for the Rangers to welcome a full stadium, though the team announced Wednesday all fans must wear face coverings except when eating or drinking at their seats.
“We will require all those who enter Globe Life Field to wear a mask or face covering,” Leibman said, “and are working with Major League Baseball on some additional protocols required for player health and safety. We will continue to monitor developments and implement the necessary public health measures. We are excited that Rangers fans will finally be able to experience all that Globe Life Field has to offer.”
The Houston Astros, Texas’s other MLB team, have yet to announce their plans for fans this season.
MLB has said it will leave questions of capacity up to local officials and individual teams for 2021. On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) eased a number of coronavirus restrictions in his state, meaning the Baltimore Orioles could fill Camden Yards to 50 percent capacity this season (the city of Baltimore could impose stricter measures than Hogan, however). Also Tuesday, the Colorado Rockies received approval from state officials for 42.6 percent attendance, which could mean up to 21,363 fans at Coors Field in Denver.
Most MLB teams have announced they will welcome at least some fans to home games this season, though most will cap attendance at around 20 percent. The Washington Nationals are the lone team prohibited from hosting fans by local regulations, though city officials have said they will revisit the issue before the season begins in April.
MLB teams played an abbreviated season in 2020, with fans prohibited from attending regular season games. However, MLB held both the National League Championship Series and the World Series at Globe Life Field and allowed roughly 11,500 fans to attend each game.
Like elsewhere in the United States, Texas has seen its number of new coronavirus cases plummet since the beginning of the year. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 15.2 percent of the state’s residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which ranks near the bottom of the list of U.S. states.