Gov. Newsom in talks with Major League Baseball on returning fans to stadiums

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There's something for baseball fans to cheer about this week - Governor Gavin Newsom said there's a chance that baseball stands won't be sitting empty this season.

"We're working on the final details, but we've been working very closely with Major League Baseball," said Newsom on Wednesday, who explained that stadiums will only open to fans if COVID cases keep dropping. "Then I have all the confidence in the world fans will be back safely."

Fans, like Christina Tan, want to play it safe. "As long as everyone is socially distanced, I think it would be good to bring back some of the vitality of life."

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"We're hopeful, not taking anything for granted, but wouldn't it be great to get the fans back on opening day," said Giants President and CEO, Larry Baer.

Baer says the Giants are working on a plan to welcome back fans in time for their home opener on April 9th against. "We have something called FanSafe. It's gonna involve sanitizers, it's gonna involve checks, it's gonna involve pod seating."

He says concessions will still be available at Oracle Park, with changes. "We're gonna have menu items that will be familiar but we're going to be really careful as to how they're delivered. A lot of delivery to the seats, more so than going up to the stands."

Baer says they also plan to stagger entrance and exits, so fans aren't all trying to leave the park at the same time.

All reopening plans depend on COVID cases. Counties in the orange tier can play to 20% capacity and in the yellow tier, 25% capacity.

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"Baseball is about energy, baseball's about relationships, and you go with your parents, or you go with your children, or friends or your spouse and that's what baseball is and to not have that energy in the ballpark it feels different. I think people would say it feels rather hollow without the fans," said Baer.

So why might in-person fandom be safe again? "We have a lot more people who are immune because of naturally acquired immunity and vaccination," said UCSF's Dr. George Rutherford, who works with the Warriors on COVID safety protocols.

Kate Larsen: "Do you think people should be required to be vaccinated and then show proof in order to go to public events like a baseball game?

Dr. George Rutherford: "I think we may eventually get there. I think if you're not going to have testing beforehand like the Warriors are proposing, if you're trying to fill stands up completely then we're going to have another higher level of protection than we can get with just masks and lower density and being outside."

The Oakland A's say they are also working on a safety plan and are already selling undated ticket vouchers, in hopes of fan-filled games this spring.

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