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New state guidelines could allow fans at Giants games in 2021

NBC Sports

The cardboard cutout era at Oracle Park is officially over. 

The state of California announced Friday that outdoor ballparks, stadiums and theme parks will be able to reopen with limited capacity April 1, paving the way for the Giants to have at least 8,000 fans at their home opener on April 9.

The city of San Francisco is currently in the red tier, and according to state guidelines the Giants would be allowed to be at 20 percent capacity, with an increase to 33 percent if they get to the orange tier. The next tier after that is yellow, which would allow for 67 percent capacity. 

At 20 percent, the Giants would be able to welcome roughly 8,400 fans against the Rockies for their home opener. The red tier allows for in-seat concession sales. In a statement, the Giants said they were "very encouraged" by the news and are working on operational plans that they will submit to local health officials.

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The Giants have had 800-900 fans at their games in Scottsdale, Ariz. this spring and manager Gabe Kapler said that has brought "a huge boost to energy levels."

"It'll mean so much for us to have fans in the stands," Kapler said. "Universally we feel more supported, more engaged, more excited when our fans are behind us. Obviously we have a job to do no matter what the surroundings are but San Francisco Giants fans make our games better. It's really good news. 

"We want to share this experience with the fans and in some ways we feel like the game is not fully the game without our fans around. It kind of feels like we're in a partnership with them and so we feel like something is missing when they are not in the stands."