The Chicago White Sox are set to kick off their home schedule on Thursday afternoon when they welcome the Kansas City Royals to Guaranteed Rate Field, and there will be some big differences in the gameday experience on the South Side.
Like the Chicago Cubs, the White Sox will have limited seating capacity for the start of the regular season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with 22% of the stadium’s seats sold for the game.
Here are the changes you can expect if you make your way to the South Side for a game:
Gate and Parking Lot Opening Times
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
For the first series of the season against the Royals, gates and parking lots will open two hours prior to game time. For all other series, parking lots and gates will open 90 minutes prior to first pitch.
Fans will not be permitted to tailgate at White Sox games due to COVID restrictions.
There will be no paper tickets accepted at the ballpark this season, as fans will be required to have electronic tickets for entry. Those tickets will be used to expedite contactless entry to the ballpark, the team says.
All fans two years of age and older must wear masks to attend games at Guaranteed Rate Field this season.
Fans are asked to keep masks on unless actively eating or drinking.
Fans are not permitted to wear neck gaiters, bandanas or masks with valves. Any fan with one of those non-approved facial coverings will be provided a disposable face mask for the game.
No bags will be permitted inside of the ballpark. Exceptions will be made for medical bags, small clutch purses and diaper bags, but only if an infant is present, according to the team.
Color-Coded Zones, Contact Tracing Information Required
Fans who purchase tickets to White Sox games will be required to stay within pre-assigned zones. Each zone will include concession, retail and restroom options, and fans will not be allowed to move between levels of the ballpark or between the zones.
Each ticket will have a color-coded zone, and numbered zones will be assigned to each seating pod, according to the team.
The zone system will be used to help the city of Chicago in the event that contact tracing information is needed. According to the team, the White Sox will provide the last known ticketholder information to city and state health officials, and that information would be used for contact purposes should it become necessary.
Parking lots will also be color-coded and assigned based on tickets, according to the team.
As a result, fans are encouraged to perform ticket transfers only on the White Sox website or through the Ticketmaster system. All other transfers can still be performed, but fans are asked to fill out a contact tracing form on the team’s website if they do so.
Cashless Concessions, Retail Sales in Place
Cash will not be accepted at retail stores or at concession stands inside of the ballpark. Mobile ordering will be available through the MLB Ballpark app.
Cash can be used to purchase White Sox gift cards at retail locations, or at the Chicago Sports Depot, according to the team.
No Promotions to Start Season
There will be no giveaways until further notice. Weekly events, including post-game fireworks and $1 Hot Dog Wednesdays, will also be paused.
-Congregating will not be allowed in any area of the stadium, with ushers encouraging fans to respect social distancing guidelines.
-Fans can bring select items that do not need to be searched, including baseball gloves, blankets and binoculars.
-CDC-approved, hospital-grade cleaning supplies will be used throughout the ballpark.
-The new LED lighting system will feature a sequence of flashing lights following home runs and victories, which could affect those susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or other photosensitivities.
-Fans planning to use rideshare services will need to use Parking Lot A for pick-up and drop-off.
-The ChiSox Bar and Grill will be closed to start the season.