With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, the Chicago Cubs have announced several significant changes to the fan experience at Wrigley Field this season.
The biggest change, naturally, is limited capacity at the Friendly Confines. Instead of 41,000-plus screaming fans in the ballpark, the Cubs and the city of Chicago have worked out a more limited seating arrangement, with fewer than 9,000 fans allowed in the stadium to start the season.
Those seats will be sold in “pods,” with one-to-four tickets available in each pod, according to the Cubs.
Those tickets will be made available first to season ticket holders, and those not purchased by season-ticket holders will be made available via a ticket purchasing lottery, similar to one the Cubs have used to sell single-game postseason tickets.
Here are other changes that will be in effect at the ballpark:
Entry to the Ballpark
Once fans arrive at Wrigley Field, they will notice several changes to the ballpark entry experience. All mobile tickets (paper tickets will not be accepted at the ballpark) will come with information on assigned entry gates, and a timed-entry system will be used to help maximize social distancing and to reduce gatherings of fans.
Gates will open 90 minutes prior to first-pitch.
Diaper bags and medical bags will still be allowed, but all wallets and purses must be no more than 9-by-5 inches, according to the team. That is because the team is putting “touchless entry” procedures into place, meaning that phones, wallets and keys will not need to be removed before going through the park’s metal detectors.
All fans two years of age or older will be required to wear masks throughout the game unless actively eating or drinking, according to the Cubs.
Strict physical distancing will be enforced in the seating area and in the concourses, according to the team.
Cashless Transactions Throughout the Park
All transactions at Wrigley Field, whether from vendors in the seating areas or concession stands and retail shops in the concourses, will be cashless beginning this season.
Fans will need to have a credit or debit card, or a wallet mobile app, to purchase items at the ballpark. Fans can also use the MLB Ballpark app, which will be used for ticketing purposes, to order items while at the game.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
The Cubs say that staff will perform routine cleaning on high-traffic and high-touch spaces in the ballpark, including in retail shops, concession stands and restrooms.