The City of Chicago announces plan for safe baseball season as home openers begin this week with limited capacity at ballparks
Cubs play the Pirates at Wrigley Field on April 1 and White Sox play the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 8
The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), along with 11th Ward Alderman Patrick D. Thompson, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs, remind fans and residents around the ballparks to be aware of limited capacity and adhere to public health guidelines in place due to COVID-19 as the baseball season begins. The City has instituted a number of safety measures that will be in place throughout the baseball season and will be implementing a coordinated security and enforcement plan to ensure a safe baseball season.
“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,” said OEMC Director Rich Guidice. “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 City of Chicago and Major League Baseball (MLB) Association evaluated capacity and restrictions to ensure fans will have a safe and fun experience when they return to the ballparks this season. The reopening capacity will be limited to a maximum of 25% for both ballparks with the potential to open to more fans as vaccination and recovery efforts continue. MLB, the White Sox and the Cubs have also instituted several enhancements and operational measures designed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in compliance with City mandates. These measures include:
- Limited Contact ballpark entry and amenity zones limited contact entry
- Cashless concessions and retail
- Additional restrooms per guest
- Reduced queueing times
- Reconfigured indoor spaces
Additionally, players, fans, associates, partners, and media can expect comprehensive screening and sanitization procedures based on the latest scientific guidance and data to provide a safe environment for everyone at the ballpark. All guests will be required to wear their masks.
The City’s COVID-19 metrics have been on the rise in recent weeks and CDPH is warning Chicagoans that everyone needs to abide by the public health guidance, including wearing masks in public, even if you’ve been vaccinated. Furthermore, bars and restaurants have strict regulations they must follow in order to keep their patrons and employees safe. A further increase in COVID-19 cases could result in ballparks, bars, restaurants and businesses closing to reduce outbreaks. The latest COVID-19 regulations in Chicago can be found at Chicago.gov/reopening.
In order to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 regulations and all business requirements, BACP will be conducting investigations of businesses near both ballparks during the home openers and throughout the season to make sure that bars and restaurants are following the regulations. In addition to the regular COVID-19 enforcement team, BACP will conduct investigations through its Large Gatherings Task Force in order to crack down on the gatherings that contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, the City has also created an Opening Day Flyer and held multiple meetings with establishments near the ballparks, including the Wrigley Rooftops, to ensure compliance with the regulations. Furthermore, BACP has partnered with the Chicago Police Department to distribute a letter directly to businesses near the ballparks reminding them of the COVID-19 regulations.
The Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, April 1 at 1:20 p.m. at Wrigley Field for their home opener. The gates open 90 minutes prior to first pitch. Each guest’s mobile ticket will include an assigned entry gate and timed entry to limit traffic and prevent congestion at gates. As part of the Cubs’ new touchless entry process, fans can keep items with them when walking through the metal detector. Bag restrictions are in place for 2021 at Wrigley Field. Only purses and wallets smaller than 9 by 5 inches are permitted. Fans should also be mindful to keep sidewalks passable and yield to emergency vehicles. For detailed information, visit the Wrigley Field Security | Chicago Cubs (mlb.com).
“We are excited to be welcoming fans back to Lakeview! The Cubs, City Departments and local businesses are working hard to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Preparing for this busy season in the neighborhood involves lots of planning and coordination to ensure that the increased traffic and crowds are the least impactful to residents’ daily life, while making a visit to Wrigleyville a fun experience. Our area is a dynamic neighborhood and ready to welcome visitors and fans back this season. As always, we ask our residents and community to be understanding of the impacts and fans and visitors to respect the area,” said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney.
Fans traveling to Wrigley Field using rideshare services from the north can be picked up/dropped off on Irving Park between Clark and Seminary; those traveling from the south can be picked up/dropped off on the 3300 block of N. Clark, on the west side of the street. Rideshare services will be restricted around Wrigley Field two hours before and 90 minutes after each event. There will also be various designated drop-off/pick-up points for pedicabs outside the restricted area.
Motorists in the area should be prepared for traffic slowdowns adjacent to the ballpark, which will be implemented by public safety officials, should conditions warrant. Truck access will be restricted 90 minutes before the game starts and one hour after the game, or until pedestrian flow is reduced to normal operations. Street closures in the area may be implemented to ensure the public safety.
During Cubs home night games this season, those around Wrigley Field should be cognizant of the night game LV2 permit parking.
Take advantage of the Cubs’ free bicycle valet service located in the alley just east of the main entrance to the CTA Red Line stop on Addison Street. The courtesy valet opens 90 minutes prior to the game and closes 30 minutes after the game ends. In addition, there are bike racks located around the ballpark as well.
The Cubs’ gameday hotline number, 866-4-CPD-TOW, is operational before, during and after games. The hotline is operated by the Chicago Police Department to assist neighborhood residents with non-emergency issues relating to Wrigley Field during Cubs home games.
Fans can follow the Cubs on Facebook and Twitter (@Cubs) for the latest information and updates.
Chicago White Sox
Our Chicago White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals at 3:10 p.m. at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday, April 8. Gates and parking lots open two hours prior to the first pitch. Fans are urged to arrive early at the ballpark for screenings.
To avoid crowding and encourage physical distancing, game tickets will be connected to a pre-assigned parking lot, gate for entry/exit and a zone within the ballpark. During the 2021 season, all individuals attending a game at Guaranteed Rate Field (including infants) will be required to have a ticket for entry in accordance with the City of Chicago Reopening Risk Matrix and contact tracing guidelines.
New public health and safety measures at Guaranteed Rate Field include no bags (except medical bags, diaper bags and a small clutch purse), cashless venue accepting only major credit cards and designated zones within the ballpark. Also, there will be no tailgating at this time.
The organization is committed to Playing It Safe at the ballpark in 2021. For more information, visit the Sox website at whitesox.com/safety.
"Opening day is always an exciting time in the neighborhood, and this year more than ever. We look forward to our Chicago White Sox playing for the fans. We also look forward to residents and fans coming out and supporting the local businesses in the area safely," said 11th Ward Alderman Patrick D. Thompson. “The residential parking restrictions will be in place for game days around Guaranteed Rate Field, so we urge fans to read signage before parking and respect the surrounding community. As a result of COVID-19, residents will be able to use their 2019 stickers and passes or the 2020 stickers and passes. We look forward to an exciting season of baseball in Chicago. Go Sox!”
Residents around the ballpark are reminded to display their residential parking permits on game days. For everyone’s safety, due to COVID-19, White Sox residential parking stickers and passes will be mailed to residents. This year, residents can use the 2019 or 2020 stickers and passes. For a detailed map of the restricted area, visit the 11th Ward website at http://www.ward11.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/w11_WhiteSoxResidentialParking.pdf
For those using rideshare services, Parking Lot A is the designated pickup and drop off zone. Accessible parking for cars displaying state-issued disability placards is available on the north side of the ballpark in parking Lot B, immediately adjacent to Gate 5.
Fans can follow the White Sox on Facebook and Twitter (@whitesox) for the latest information and updates.
Alcohol, Peddling and Parking Enforcement
Throughout the season, CPD will have and increased presence around both Wrigley and Guaranteed Rate Fields to ensure public safety on game days. As CPD stresses the strict enforcement of public intoxication ordinances and DUI laws, they will also be working closely with BACP to ensure business compliance and enforce City and State liquor laws that prohibit over-serving and serving alcohol to minors. Additionally, the peddling of goods without a license and the selling or soliciting the sale of residential parking passes is illegal.
To assist with increased traffic and activity at the ballparks, the Traffic Management Authority will deploy traffic control aides on game days. Parking restrictions will be strictly enforced. If your vehicle is towed, call 3-1-1 City Services to obtain assistance in locating your vehicle.
Public transportation is recommended. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) offers lots of options for getting to the game and extra service on opening game day, with stops and stations adjacent to both ballparks. CTA follows extensive cleaning and social-distancing protocols and offers full service to help reduce crowding. For CTA Train and Bus information, visit www.transitchicago.com. Metra provides service for Guaranteed Rate Field at 35th Street “Lou” Jones/Bronzeville station at LaSalle and 35th.
If You See Something, Say Something
As always, OEMC encourages attendees, ballpark employees, fans as well as residents to always be aware of surroundings and report any suspicious activity to onsite security or by calling 9-1-1.
Emergency Alerts for Residents and Businesses
OEMC issues several alerts and notifications to keep residents and businesses up to date on weather and traffic conditions as well as emergencies:
- Notify Chicago: Sign up for emergency alerts at notifychicago.org
- CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
- COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3
- CHIBIZ: Business updates, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3
For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit our website at Chicago.gov/OEMC. Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook, Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911) using the hashtags #ChicagoOEMC #Smart911 #Chicago911 #BeSafeChicago.
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