Cubs Envision Fans At Wrigley In Reduced Capacity

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By 670 The Score
(670 The Score) The Cubs anticipate welcoming fans to Wrigley Field in a limited capacity with social distancing guidelines in place at some point in the 2020 season, president of business operations Crane Kenney said Thursday.

"I do," Kenney said on the Dan Bernstein Show when asked if he foresees fans in the stands. "And I've been optimistic on this one for a while. We're fortunate to have some of the best medical professionals in our city helping us -- both from Advocate and Northwestern. And I'll give credit to the city and the city's health department as well. And there was always a path to bring fans back into Wrigley, obviously a much smaller group that would normally attend games. The fact that Gov. (J.B.) Pritzker got there ahead of us was obviously a good sign. And we're working with the city, having great conversations with the mayor's staff on this topic. We know our fans, if safe and if it can be done with the right cautions, would love to come back to the ballpark. So we do see that happening this year."

On Monday, the state of Illinois opened the possibility of fans attending MLB games in Chicago in 2020 when it announced it will permit attendance of up to 20% capacity for outdoor stadiums and venues as part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's fourth phase of reopening. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city haven't given such clearance yet, but the Cubs are hopeful it will come down the line.

Wrigley Field's capacity is 41,649, so 8,329 fans would mark 20% capacity.

"We probably ought to plan for masks on for the entire game when you come into the stadium," Kenney said. "Again, this is all being led by the medical professionals, certainly not by myself or the team's operations (staff). This is about how can we safely bring fans back into the ballpark. And just to make it perfectly clear: We would not do this, even if the governor allowed it, if we thought it would be unsafe. And so there will be social distancing when people come into the ballpark. He mentioned 20% capacity. We're looking at manifests to find out how we can responsibly socially distance up to 20% or in our case around 8,000 fans inside Wrigley Field. As you know, we are one of the small ball fields in terms of just square footage. So we won't go past the level that we, with our medical team, feel we can do it responsibly." 

The 60-game MLB season is set to begin July 23 or July 24. The rooftops across from Wrigley Field that the Cubs own are expected to be open when the season starts, Kenney said.