DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Stadiums across Ohio could be seeing fans in April after Governor Mike DeWine proposed allowing 30% capacity at outdoor sporting events. Dragon’s staff say they are very eager to welcome fans and players back safely into the ballpark.
In a normal game, Day Air Ballpark can hold 6,831 fans but now with potentially only allowing 30%, roughly 2,000 fans will be able to score tickets.
“We signed the Player Development License with the Reds, we got our coaching staff announced and a schedule, DeWine is increasing the percentage so there’s a lot of positive things and signs of progress,” said Executive Vice President Eric Deutsch.
The Dragons stadium sat empty for an entire year, an unusual experience for the downtown area. In order to survive the pandemic, Deutsch says they condensed their resources and are hoping to use the 2021 season to recover.
“We applied for a lot of loan programs, reduced expenses, so we’re now getting back on our feet. We’ll recover a little bit this year but we’ll hopefully be fully back on our feet in ’22,” said Deutsch.
But, fans will notice changes like digital concession stands and plexiglass as organizers work to create a safe experience. Dragons staff couldn’t say whether fans will need to wear masks while watching the game seated, but health leaders say it might be a good idea initially.
“From a medical perspective, if you can follow the social distancing, it’s also a good idea to have the mask on if you can, it’s just going to minimize the risk,” said Premier Health’s Regional Medical Director Dr. Joseph Allen. “We’ve shown we’re heading in a very good direction with the COVID numbers, we want to continue that momentum, continue doing that but not get too aggressive.”
Additionally, health leaders said the future of outdoor spring sports relies on the community’s actions. If numbers start to rise, then immediate action will need to be taken.
DeWine said he’ll have an update on Thursday.