People who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine will be seated separately from those who have in two major baseball stadiums in New York, officials announced this week.
The segregation will be enforced at Fans at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, home to Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and New York Yankees.
“There are going to be separate sections for those who are vaccinated,” Randy Levine, president of the Yankees, told a May 5 briefing he joined with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“As we sell tickets on an individual basis, they will go into one of those two areas, either unvaccinated or vaccinated because we will have some inventory in both types of location,” added Sandy Alderson, the president of the Mets.
The details of how the new policy will be enforced are still being developed.
Sections with people who are vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, can be full, with no capacity restrictions. But in sections with unvaccinated people, fans will need to be spaced apart six feet.
All fans, regardless of their status, must wear a mask, even though the games are played outdoors.
“For baseball reopening, May 19th. Two different categories. Not Yankees/Mets. Vaccinated/Unvaccinated,” Cuomo, a Democrat who has refused calls to resign over sexual assault allegations and his administration hiding the number of elderly New Yorkers who died from COVID-19, told the briefing.
“I want to thank the Mets and the Yankees from the bottom of my heart. It’s a pain in the neck for them to operate this vaccinated and unvaccinated. The gentlemen who run the stadiums are here. It’s not easy to do this. Nobody’s done this before. Nobody’s done any of this before, let’s be honest,” he added.
Cuomo insisted the new plan is legal.
Fans will be able to use the Excelsior Pass, an application, to show proof of vaccination when entering one of the stadiums, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The app was developed by IBM in partnership with the state. It was tested earlier this year at NBA and NHL games before being rolled out officially in March.
The Yankees reported 10,850 fans at their stadium on Tuesday night. That’s the most they can have under current restrictions.
In a bid to get more New Yorkers vaccinated, the teams are offering people who get a shot at a stadium a free ticket.
“Basically you come to the game … you take a vaccine shot, you get a voucher, you can go to that game. If that game’s sold out, you can go tomorrow night and go to a game of your choice,” Levine said.
Officials at Citi Field said approximately 2,000 people are getting vaccinated there each day.
Also at the briefing, Dr. Howard Zucker, the state’s health commissioner, refused to comment on a report that said Cuomo’s senior aides delayed the release of an audit on nursing home deaths for months.
“This is an ongoing investigation, so I won’t answer any questions at this point,” he said.
Cuomo called the pressure on state officials regarding the shielding of death numbers political. The shielding is being probed by the Department of Justice. He also denied that his administration withheld the numbers because of fear the data would be used against them. One of Cuomo’s top aides, Melissa DeRosa, said as much in a conference call with state Democratic lawmakers earlier this year.