ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Red Wings officials are optimistic about New York state’s new capacity limits for outdoor sporting events.
Gov. Cuomo announced starting April 1, outdoor venues with 2,500+ capacity can begin hosting live concerts and shows at 20% capacity. He said as COVID rates improve, capacity will continue to increase.
The governor said starting March 29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be permitted. Previously, travel for sports was limited to contiguous counties and regions.
The governor announced beginning April 1, sports venues with 1,500+ indoor capacity or 2,500+ outdoor capacity can increase attendance to 10% capacity and 20% capacity, respectively. Gov. Cuomo said proof of negative test or immunization will be required for attendance and that requirement will be re-evaluated in mid-May.
This is a big development for the Rochester Red Wings, who this week told News 8 that the 10% capacity restriction was the biggest obstacle to overcome in bringing fans back to games.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Dan Mason, the general manager for the Rochester Red Wings. “It’s a very optimistic day.”
Mason preached this phrase of optimism Thursday. After all, back in February, the capacity was reduced to 0%. So to him, it’s gone up 20% in one month, with two months left to go before their home opener of May 18. He says he is optimistic for another capacity increase.
Still, Masons says that even at 20% there’s a financial challenge. Beyond paying the players, opening a stadium to fans requires incredible cost, ranging from unities, to technical staff, to concessions, to ticket and security staff.
Mason does say however that two key components are just as beneficial as opening up the capacity: The changing of the guidelines to include rapid testing, and that proof of vaccination will allow entry.
“That can definitely be helpful for our fans,” Mason said.
He says that not only will it make it more convenient for fans to get the test done the same day, he says this convenience might fuel more people to come out and spontaneously watch a game.
It also eases the financial burden; he says PCR test can be expensive, and the cheaper rapid test might help when people also have to buy a game ticket.
Mason also says the Red Wings can learn more about reopening from following in the footsteps of two other New York baseball teams — The Yankees and The Mets.
“We’re all in this together,” Mason said.