AKRON, Ohio — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
When the Akron RubberDucks kick off their 2021 season at Canal Park on May 4, they'll be permitted to do so with fans in the stands.
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On Wednesday, the team, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, and the Summit County Health Department, announced that it will be permitted to host 47 percent of Canal Park's capacity -- roughly 3,600 seats -- for all home games in the month of May.
“We have been working diligently to develop this plan to safely host RubberDucks home games this season for our fans and community,” said Akron RubberDucks Owner, Ken Babby. “With this seating plan and our safety guidelines, we are completely confident that everyone who visits Canal Park this summer can enjoy a night of safe, affordable, family fun. We are truly grateful for the hard work of Dr. File and all of our local and state health officials for helping to ensure the safety of all fans, employees, and players here at Canal Park.”
As a part of its "Responsible Reopening" plan, the RubberDucks will enact several safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. As a part of the plan, the stadium will use a staggered seating method, which will allow fans to be seated in pods of 2, 4, 6, or 8 people
Additionally, all fans will be required to wear an appropriate mask or face covering at all times inside the ballpark, except when actively eating or drinking in their designated seating location. Meanwhile, all areas of the stadium with nontraditional stadium seating will be available and will maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet of unoccupied space.
“We know that things will look just a little bit different here at the ballpark during the 2021 season, but we simply can’t wait to welcome our fans home to Canal Park this summer!” said Akron RubberDucks General Manager, Jim Pfander. “The safety of our fans will always be our top priority, and this reopening plan allows us to host RubberDucks games in the most responsible way while providing the best ballpark experience to our fans that have waited so long to return to Canal Park.”
Earlier this month, Gov. DeWine eliminated the capacity limit for outdoor events in the state, including sporting events. Such venues, however, are still required to take proper social distancing measures.