Baseball to return to Nationals Park — but without fans, for now

Baseball fans that have eagerly waited to catch a Washington Nationals home game will likely have to wait a little longer.

The D.C. government has approved the Nationals to play home games in their park this season, but there will be no fans in the stands because of the on going pandemic.

In a letter to a team official, the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and D.C. Health approved an application for the team to play at home, with a condition that fans would not be in attendance. They cited the impacts of COVID-19 as the cause.

The letter was addressed to Senior Vice President of Community Engagement for the Washington Nationals Gregory McCarthy.

The agencies said in the letter that they will reexamine fan attendance as coronavirus metrics change in the District. They said they are evaluating new strains of the virus that are more transmissible and how those strains may affect public health measures, including vaccinations.

But there is some hope for fans that want to attend games. The agencies plan to revisit ticket sales, and specifically how many tickets can be sold for each game, sometime in the middle of March, but “answers as to how many and when are still premature.”

Fans are allowed at the Nationals spring training games. The team is part of the Grapefruit League, which plays in south Florida where coronavirus restrictions have limited the amount of fans and have required masks for all in attendance.

Last year no fans were allowed at any regular season baseball games during the truncated season. The only time fans could buy tickets were for the neutral site games of the NLCS and World Series that took place in Arlington, Texas.

The Nationals home opener is April 1.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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