Rockford, Illinois News

Chicago ballparks open for now as Cubs, White Sox open 2021 season

CHICAGO — While Chicago’s two Major League ballparks will be open to fans as the 2021 season gets underway April 1, the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases could close them again.

As it stands, capacity at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Guaranteed Rate Field is limited to 25%.

According to the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC), if the city’s coronavirus situation worsens, both parks, along with restaurants could again be under the same restrictions as 2020, which saw the Cubs and White Sox play their abbreviated seasons in empty stadiums.

“OEMC and our public safety partners have been working together with both the Cubs and Sox over the last several months to ensure the safety of our residents and fans throughout the upcoming baseball season,” OEMC Director Rich Guidice said in a release. “We ask fans to be vigilant in crowds, abide by regulations and public health guidelines, adhere to traffic restrictions and respect the surrounding communities.”

The Cubs play their home opener Thursday, April 1, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gates will open 90 minutes prior to first pitch, scheduled for 1:20 p.m. Bag restrictions will be in place. Only purses and wallets no bigger than 9×5 inches are permitted.

The White Sox begin a seven-game road swing Thursday before hosting Kansas City at 3:10 p.m., April 8. Gates and parking lots will open two hours before the game. Fans are urged to arrive early for security screenings. No bags are allowed except for medical bags, diaper bags and small clutch purses. No tailgating is permitted.

Officials say COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up across the state. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,592 cases and 28 new virus-related deaths Wednesday.A total of 1,413 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized statewide. Of those, 294 were in the ICU and 123 were on ventilators.