As San Francisco prepared to loosen restrictions on local businesses Monday morning, Giants president and CEO Larry Baer sent a letter to fans stating the organization is confident that they will be allowed back at Oracle Park this season.
"While our state and country continue to face many challenges resulting from the pandemic, I am feeling more optimistic as vaccines begin to become available in our communities," Baer wrote. "We certainly have a ways to go until we get past the pandemic, but we are encouraged and can see a pathway to welcoming our fans back to Oracle Park."
Baer provided an overview of what the Giants are planning, including significant changes to the fan experience as they are let back into the ballpark. The Giants initially will require health screenings, face coverings and social distancing for all areas of the ballpark and are coming up with seating plans that enforce social distancing. Season ticket holders will be prioritized, with the Giants making "best efforts to maintain their seat locations." Entryways to the ballpark will be modified for security and health purposes. The Giants also plan to develop new parking options around the ballpark since public transportation is still impacted.
The letter came on a day when much of the baseball world was debating the viability of spring training, although the Giants still plan to have pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale Stadium on February 15. MLB went through the entire 2020 season without fans but the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins announced Monday that they are putting spring training tickets on sale in Jupiter, Florida. It's unclear if the Giants will have fans in the seats for Cactus League games.
Baer's letter acknowledges that different MLB teams will be under different rules, noting that they are "subject to their own city and county public health guidelines" and "their ability to have fans in attendance will vary throughout the state and the country."
The Giants figure to be near the back of the line, as San Francisco has been about as restrictive as any city in the country, and Baer wrote that city and county public health officials will "have the ultimate authority on determining when we can re-open Oracle Park."
On that front, there was positive news Monday. Mayor London Breed announced earlier in the day that San Francisco would start to allow limited re-openings, including outdoor dining.