SF Giants fans 'feel safer' in new vaccinated-only sections at Oracle Park

SAN FRANCICSO (KGO) -- Proof of vaccination can now get you a designated seat, in a separate section, at Giants games at Oracle Park.

ABC7 News reporter, Kate Larsen, spoke to fans at Thursday night's game in one of the park's first "vaccine only" areas.

"You know the more fans the better, this is a safe place," said longtime season ticket holder, Rick Swig, who is vaccinated, but was sitting in his regular seat.

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Like so many things during the pandemic, Thursday night's game was a first, for two different types of baseball tickets. Fans could sit in a vaccinated-only section or socially distanced pod section, which is limited to two or four people.

"Even though people are sectioned off it's great, it's good being here," said San Mateo resident, Stephanie Bautista, who doesn't mind the socially distanced pod seating.

Giants president and CEO, Larry Baer, expects the new "vaccine sections" will allow them to increase capacity.

"If you're a fan you have two choices. You can sit in a socially distanced section and have your own pod with six feet separation between your pod and the next pod; or you can sit with others and it can be an unlimited number of others in a vaccinated section, so it allows us to have groups, all the groups who want to come back to the ballpark," said Baer.

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Baer hopes the vaccinated groups, who can sit together without zip-tied seats separating them, will allow Oracle to go from about 25% capacity to 50% capacity in May.

"We're going to get to that through a mix of socially distanced sections and vaccinated sections and we'll see what the demand is for each," said Baer.

One of four small inaugural vaccine sections Thursday night was in section 145, in the bleachers.

Giants fan, Frank Kaniewski, bought tickets for the vaccine section, though he says he wasn't sure what that meant. "I thought, it's probably safer. Everyone's got the vaccine."

"We were all vaccinated and so when we wanted to go to the game, they had a vaccine section and we said, 'Let's do it.' That's the perfect spot for us," said San Francisco resident Kierston Cannon.

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Cannon's friend, Noa Torres Baker, explained why she chose the vaccine section.

"We had a group of five and this was the only way for us to all be able to sit together," said Baker.

UCSF's Dr. Monica Gandhi says she approves of vaccine sections in privately-owned spaces.

"You get to go back to normal, you get to go back to life as we knew it. And I think that can be really motivating for people to uptake vaccines," said Dr. Gandhi.

If you don't have a vaccine, you can still go to a Giants game. You just have to show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of game time.

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