SEATTLE — Last year, the only baseball fans at T-Mobile Park were cardboard cutouts.
This Thursday, on Opening Night, 9,000 fans will be allowed inside. The Seattle Mariners predict Opening Night will be Seattle’s biggest event in a year.
“We’re really excited that we are able to welcome fans back to the ballpark this week,” said Jessica Reid-Bateman, director of security for the Seattle Mariners.
Now that Washington is in Phase 3 of the reopening plan and spectator sports are allowed, the Seattle Mariners have made changes to get fans into T-Mobile Park quicker and easier on game days while still maintaining COVID-19 safety.
The team is speeding up the way fans enter the ballpark.
“It makes the metal detection process a lot more touchless,” Reid-Bateman said.
New metal detectors have been installed at all gates so that fans will not be required to remove phones and keys from their pockets and can spend less time standing in line. The new machines detect the shapes of objects and types of metal.
In a demonstration for reporters, a machine found a knife carried in by a team employee.
To reduce contact between staff and fans, tickets have gone digital. All tickets for the 2021 season are available through the MLB Ballpark or Ticketmaster apps. Fans will scan their own tickets on their phones at pedestals at ballpark gates. More information about downloading, accessing or transferring tickets is available at Mariners.com/DigitalTickets.
Fans will be seated in pods of between one and six seats to keep groups of fans six feet apart.
This season, fans will also find several new health and safety policies and procedures:
Masks: Masks are required for everyone ages 2 and up. They must cover both the nose and mouth and are required to be worn at all times except when eating or drinking.
Cleaning and disinfection: Enhanced cleaning methods are in place that use the latest technology and products to target the possible presence of COVID-19.
Cashless transactions: All vendors at T-Mobile Park will accept only debit and credit cards, gift cards and mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Fans who do not have mobile pay, debit or credit cards can use ReadySTATION kiosks around T-Mobile Park to convert cash into prepaid debit cards.
Streamlined menu offerings: Ballpark menu offerings will focus on individually packaged items.
There are also new COVID-19 entry restrictions:
- No bags: This includes backpacks and handbags. Clutch-sized purses are allowed as long as they are no larger than 4½“x6½”. Exceptions will be made for ADA or medical needs and for single-compartment diaper bags that do not exceed 16″x16″x8″ (must be accompanied by a child). Fans have the option to return bags to their vehicles, or to use paid lockers located on Occidental Avenue to securely store bags during games.
- No outside food: Fans are allowed one sealed plastic water bottle 32 ounces or smaller.
As the season goes on, the Mariners said some restrictions may be relaxed as conditions improve.
Anyone who has questions can watch a short video at Mariners.com/Safety.