Atlanta Braves to expand capacity for home games

Sports

Cardboard cutouts of fans in the otherwise empty seats face the field during the sixth inning of a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays, Thursday, July 30, 2020 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves will expand capacity at Truist Park to 50% for their second homestand beginning April 23 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Braves are permitting 33% capacity at their initial homestand to allow for ample social distancing, limiting the crowd to about 13,500. Those standards will be in place for the first seven home games, beginning with the April 9 opener against the Phillies.

The capacity will increase to 50%, or roughly 20,500, for at least the ensuing seven home games. The Braves have said they will review their seating policies before each homestand.

The Braves’ capacity will be among the highest in the big leagues. They will join Houston at 50%, which is only surpassed by the Texas Rangers’ plans to allow full capacity at the start of the season.

President Joe Biden has called the Rangers’ plan a mistake, joining health officials in warning of a possible fourth surge in COVID-19 cases while urging states to keep restrictions in place until more of the population is vaccinated.

That request has been largely rejected by governors in GOP-led states, including Georgia. The Braves announcement came one day after Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order rolling back the state’s coronavirus restrictions beginning April 8, including the ban on large gatherings.

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