DENVER (KDVR) — For the first time in 550 days, fans will be welcomed back at Coors Field to cheer on the Rockies during Thursday’s home opener.
Given new safety guidelines and protocols put in place at Coors Field to help protect fans from COVID, health officials feel optimistic about the decision to allow a reduced sized crowd within the stadium.
Dr. Michelle Barron, Infectious Disease Specialist with UCHealth said fans still need to take precautions. She said, “I’m concerned about big crowds without control measures, so certainly there are sporting events happening and opening up. But those are controlled conditions where people are masking and distancing and in small groupings, as opposed to what we saw in some other states where we saw just masses of people in close proximity. That makes my heart stop because we just know there is a greater chance it could spread.”
The latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows 987,000 Coloradans have been fully vaccinated. Another 1.6 million have had at least one dose. Vaccinations are up, but so are positive test results.
Dr. Barron said, “Hospitalizations are slightly up as well. I think it’s a little premature to call it a true trend, but it is definitely on the margin where we start to worry. With the number of variants being reported, I am concerned we will continue to see a rise. My hope is we get more vaccinations sooner and that will prevent a potential upswing.”
All in all, roughly 21,000 fans will be in attendance, putting Coors Field at 42.6% capacity.
This season, fans will run into plenty of signs and safety markers placed inside and around Coors Field, reminding them of best COVID safety practices.
For their part, fans will be required to wear facial coverings at all times, unless they are actively eating or drinking.
Tickets are all digital this season too, just to help prevent any unnecessary contact.
Seating will be spread out in pods throughout the ballpark, also.
“I think they’ve made a lot of adjustments to the way things normally flow to make sure people move forward, get in, don’t stay in line for long periods of time,” Dr. Barron added.
On top of the other guidelines, concession stands will all be cashless and standing room areas will not be available for gatherings.
She said the vaccines appear to be effective against the variants. Dr. Barron said, “people want to feel normal and have fun, which i am not opposed to, but I think you can do it in a safe way.”
The FOX31 Problem Solvers asked if the vaccine could cause you to have a positive test result. Dr. Barron said, “That’s a great question. The answer is: if you are doing the nasal swab, the answer is no. The nasal swab will not detect anything related to a vaccine. If you do an antibody test, there are some tests that could potentially pick up the vaccine response.. but they are not 100%.
For a closer look at Coors Field’s new guidelines, click here.