(670 The Score) The Cubs sold out their allotted tickets for spring training games in a short time period, and beginning next Tuesday in Mesa, Arizona, they’ll start hosting fans again.
Up to 3,750 fans will be allowed into Sloan Park under the new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, which allows for up to 25% capacity.
"People will be seated in pods of two, four and six in the seating bowl,” Sloan Park general manager Justin Piper said. “In the general admission area and out on the outfield lawn as well as rooftop seating, they will be in pods of two and four. We tried our best to work with season-ticket holders, and I think everybody understood the circumstances.”
Seats weren’t assigned to customers for the entirety of spring training. Individual game tickets were sold with priority given to past season-ticket holders to have the initial right to purchase.
"The way seats are configured, you just can't seat all season-ticket holders in their location,” Piper said. “We have worked with our partner StubHub so that tickets sold on the secondary market remain in the socially distanced pods. So if someone is selling a pod of two, it will remain a pod of two. We have asked all of our ticket holders to honor the pods for health and social distancing purposes.”
Piper expects more than 90% of tickets to be of the mobile variety, and there will be a no-touch system in place. All food transactions will be electronic-only. Fans must eat and drink their beverages in their seating area or at designated socially distanced tables.
They can also order food off a mobile app and be directed to pick up their order at a lane arranged to expedite the process and to prevent long line waits.
Other CDC guidelines will be in place as well.
"Everyone in the ballpark will be socially distanced,” Piper said "That includes the entrance experience and to all concession purchases. Next would be the mask mandate. Every person (including park employees) two years of age or older must wear a mask when they are not eating or drinking.”
A new bag policy is also in place at Sloan Park upon entry this season. No bags large than nine inches by five inches will be allowed past the point of entry at the park (the exception being medical bags and diaper bags). Sanitizing stations have also been installed throughout the park.
“We will have sanitizing crews to keep high-volume areas clean,” Piper said. "We also have stringent procedures in place for every postgame wipe down and cleaning in Sloan Park.”
Fans won’t be allowed to tailgate outside of Sloan Park either.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.