It's unclear when games will return to Oracle Park, but the Giants announced a program Wednesday that will help keep stadium employees afloat while the sport is shut down by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The program, announced by president and CEO Larry Baer and vice president and general counsel Jack Bair, has two tiers and will cover about 2,600 employees who work at Oracle Park during games and events. Baer additionally said all full-time Giants employees will remain employed and have been working from home.
Major League Baseball had previously announced that all teams would pay $1 million each to help pay ballpark employees, and the Giants' ownership group and executives are chipping in an additional $700,000. It will be distributed in two ways.
The first part of the program covers event-based employees who technically work for a third party, such as the 900 Bon Appetit workers who handle food and catering at Oracle Park. Those employees will get a one-time grant of $500. The Giants expect about 2,000 workers to request this grant.
The second part covers event-based staffers and will provide an additional $100 to $250 per month depending on length of employment and how many hours were worked during the 2019 season. This primarily benefits people like ushers, security guards and maintenance workers, along with game-day workers like the scoreboard operators and the group that tosses t-shirts into the stands.
"They are in many ways, in our view, really the backbone of what we're doing," Baer said of the collective group. "They're the people that work hard, work diligently and serve our fans, which is the lifeblood of our sport and our business. Without games, obviously many of them will encounter hardship."
The majority of event-based employees had a second job elsewhere, though many work at places like Chase Center, which also has been shut down. The Giants have encouraged everyone covered by their program to also apply for unemployment benefits. They have confirmed with local and federal government officials that these supplemental payments won't impact unemployment eligibility.
"The benefits that we're offering, in addition to unemployment, should roughly equate to what people would have made if games were played, and in some cases it could be more," Bair said.
None of the newly announced funds came from players, but Baer said some have expressed an interest in working on their own programs and he intends to reach out to them. When the players do return to Oracle Park, it should look different.
Some work continues on the Mission Rock development since it has been included in the "essential work" description given by the city because some of the project is dedicated to affordable housing. Workers in what used to be Lot A are practicing social distancing and wiping down equipment as they work.
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Baer also said construction on the bullpens and outfield walls has been stopped but will restart when the Giants are given the all-clear by the city.
"We have timelines available and when we have a game at Oracle Park, we would have enough lead time to perform that work," Baer said. "Much of that work had been done already."