The Philadelphia Phillies welcomed nearly 8,800 fans back to the Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day. These fans were sure to notice some new protocols enforced inside of the ballpark.
Phillies Executive Vice President David Buck told Temple Update, “We’re welcoming everybody back. It’s been a long time since fans have been here. Our message is welcome home and we’re excited about it.”
Citizens Bank Park has been either completely empty or filled with cardboard cutouts for the past nineteen months. However, starting April 1st, the Phillies are inviting roughly twenty percent capacity of fans back in the stands.
Phillies Director of Operations and Security, Sal DeAngelis, says he is confident Philadelphia fans will bring traditional game day energy. “I have no doubt that 88 hundred fans in Philadelphia are gonna still make this stadium electric.”
Fans back in the stands calls for new protocols that must be kept in mind while inside of the ballpark. First and foremost, fans must wear a mask at all times unless actively eating or drinking. There will be new ground decals around concession stands and standing areas to enforce social distancing. Some of the concession stands will be cashless and there is a new addition to the Phillies staff: the clean team. The clean team will take extra precautions to maintain the cleanliness in the stadium and on all surfaces. Another new addition in the Citizens Bank Park is the concept of pod seating. Seats will be spread out in sets of two, three, four, five, and even six people per pod. The seats surrounding will be closed off with zip ties.
All of the fan-favorite concession stands will remain open during the ball games for all spectators. General Manager of ARAMARK at Citizens Bank Park, Kevin Tedesco, says that places like Federal Donuts, Tony Lukes, Campos, Seasons, and Chickie’s and Pete’s will all be open for service.
The physical presence of people in the stadium is a great thing for both the fans and the athletes. The athletes may be able to use this extra push of adrenaline to slam one out of the ballpark.
Phillies Director of Operations and Security, Sal DeAngelis, emphasizes the emotion behind the staff as they prepared for the start of the season.
“Opening day is always a special day in Philadelphia as you can see there is a buzz around the ballpark today we’re all getting ready we’re all ready for baseball at Citizens Bank Park with fans in the seats which is a great feeling.”