The Cardinals, in cooperation with the City of St. Louis and Major League Baseball, announced Thursday they have received approval to welcome guests back to Busch Stadium for the 2021 season, beginning on Thursday, April 8.
“We are excited to have our fans back in the stands for the upcoming season,” said Bill DeWitt III, Team President. “We thank Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office, Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols, and the City of St. Louis Health Department for partnering with us to develop a comprehensive reopening plan that complies with all City health directives and the League’s Return-to-Play Protocols.”
“Reports of new COVID-19 infections have continued to decline in St. Louis over the past month,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. “Our case positivity rate, the percent of persons tested who have a positive result, recently dipped below 5% for the first time since September 15, 2020. The Cardinals organization has worked diligently to ensure they are able to create and maintain a safe environment for staff and fans. Wearing a face covering, social distancing, cleaning, and other infectious disease control measures they have in place for the stadium should keep us moving in the right direction.”
Mayor Lyda Krewson said, “St. Louis at our very core is a baseball town, and I know our fans are ready to get back to Busch Stadium for another exciting season! Thank you to the entire Cardinals organization for working with us to develop a comprehensive and thoughtful reopening plan that prioritizes everyone’s health and safety.”
To begin the season, up to approximately 32 percent of capacity will be allowed to attend each game at Busch Stadium. The organization will begin selling tickets to April home games soon, with Cardinals Season Ticket Holders receiving first opportunity to secure tickets for the first two homestands. If inventory allows, ticket on-sale dates for the general public will be determined and announced at a later date.
A number of policies and protocols will be in place to ensure the health and safety of fans, employees, and players in 2021, including:
- Socially-distanced seating: Guests will be seated in pods of four or less with a minimum distance of 6-feet between seating pods in all directions.
- Masks required: Masks will be required at all times in all areas of the stadium, including the seating bowl, unless guests are actively eating and drinking.
- Mobile-only ticketing: All game tickets will be delivered via the MLB Ballpark app, ensuring a touchless entry into the ballpark.
- Cashless transactions: Concession stands, kiosks and other retail transactions made in the stadium will be cashless and only offer credit and debit payment options. Debit cards will be available for purchase using cash with no service fees at a limited number of locations inside the stadium.
- Designated entry gates: Guests will be directed to enter and exit the stadium through one of six designated entry gates to expedite the process and limit crowding at any one entrance. A designated entry gate will be noted on each ticket. Guests will not be permitted to exit and re-enter the stadium.
- Bags not permitted: To reduce contamination and ensure touchless entry, bags will not be permitted to be brought in to Busch Stadium, except for medical or diaper bags.
- Hand sanitizer: Hand sanitizer dispensers will be widely available throughout the ballpark.
- Staff health screenings: All full-time employees and event staff will be subject to health and temperature screenings before entering the stadium.
Additional changes will be implemented to ticketing, concessions and retail operations to further reduce touch points among staff and guests.
“Busch Stadium’s vast open-air footprint, six entry gates and wide concourses gives us the ability to create the safest environment possible for guests to root on the Cardinals this year,” said Matt Gifford, Vice President of Stadium Operations. “We’ve all missed the fans at the ballpark and are confident that all fans will adhere to these policies for an outstanding game day experience.”
The Cardinals will also upgrade Busch Stadium’s HVAC systems by replacing filters in the ballpark to MERV 13 to ensure cleaner air in any enclosed spaces. Electrostatic sprayers and EPA registered disinfectants will continue to be utilized to disinfect rooms and surfaces throughout the ballpark. Additionally, the team’s cleaning partner, SBM Management Services, is working toward GBAC STAR™ accreditation for Busch Stadium that certifies the organization’s thorough cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention strategies.
Social distancing and proper hygiene will be enforced and encouraged by staff throughout the ballpark. The organization will continuously evaluate all guidelines, seek guidance from local and Major League Baseball health experts, and adjust policies or protocols as necessary.
Fans can view the full list of Busch Stadium policies and protocols for the start of the 2021 season at cardinals.com/backatbusch.