BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Ravens announced Tuesday it plans to welcome back fans to full capacity at M&T Bank Stadium for the upcoming season.
“I’m missing the tailgating,” said Philip Brzozowski. “I’m missing seeing the guys in action.”
In a message to season ticket holders, the team said it’s optimistic that they will have a full stadium to fans as progress continues with COVID-19 vaccinations across the country.
“Our preparations for the new season are ongoing, and with continuing progress in vaccinations throughout the nation and in our community, we are optimistic that we will have a full stadium of fans this season. We will continue to work diligently with state and local agencies to prepare to host fans safely,” the team said in a statement.
The stadium has been a mass vaccination clinic for more than two months and the team said Tuesday, in part… “to achieve our goal of a full stadium, we encourage everyone in our community to get vaccinated.”
They cited Pimlico’s Triple-Crown Preakness event coming up in a few weeks, and Merriweather Post Pavilion’s plans to host events in July as encouraging for their own plans.
The plan for the 2021 season includes full capacity, but also safety protocols like mobile ticketing, touchless kiosks and cashless purchasing.
When asked if they would require proof of vaccination to attend the games, this was their response:
“We will follow guidance and best practices recommended by local, state and federal health officials, including the CDC.” said Tom Valente, Ravens spokesperson.
“I think it’s a good thing, but we need everyone to get vaccinated,” said Jennifer Gutowski, a traveling nurse and Ravens fan.
“Glimmer of hope that things might be returning to normal—even 50% capacity would show that,” said Joe Hemler.
“I didn’t get to go to any of the games last year and I’m raring to go back in,” Brzozowski said.
“I think full capacity is probably a bad idea at this point,” Samantha Lash said. “They’re probably just trying to make some money.”
“I’m all for it if people are gonna wear their masks and be safe, be respectable,” Lash added.
Gov. Larry Hogan praised the announcement Tuesday and said the state will work with the Ravens on how to bring back fans safely.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Hogan said. ” We’d love to get a full stadium as soon as the season gets back, too. That’s fully within our plans.”
“If people want to get their lives back and want to go to games and wanna go to sporting events and be with their friends, get vaccinated, “Lash said.
WJZ’s Paul Gessler asked the Ravens organization if there were any plans on requiring anything from fans by way of proof of vaccination.
They didn’t say, but told me they’d follow guidance from health officials and the CDC.
The league will announce its schedule next week.
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