DC allows 5K fans per game for 1st Nats homestand; what to expect

D.C. gave the Washington Nationals the go-ahead Monday to have 5,000 spectators at their home games when the regular season begins next month.

The Nationals were one of the few Major League Baseball teams that didn’t already have permission to allow fans this season.

Washington will host the New York Mets on April 1 to begin the 2021 season, with the first pitch slated for 7:09 p.m. That’s the beginning of a three-game series, which will be followed by another three games in Washington against the Atlanta Braves.

Tickets to Washington’s home games will be available in “pods” of up to six seats; suites will have reduced capacities. Hard tickets won’t be available. All tickets will be delivered digitally through the MLB Ballpark app.

Because of the capacity limits, priority ticket access will be given to NATS PLUS members based
on tenure and ticket package size, according to a release. NATS PLUS members should expect an email with the details. Single-game tickets for the general public will be announced at a later date
based on availability.

Fans will have to enter and exit Nats Park through their color-coded gate.

Bags are not allowed inside the park, except for medically necessary bags, diaper bags and clutch purses no bigger than 5” x 7” x 3/4”. Binbox lockers will be available outside the Right Field
Gate and Home Plate gates.

Face coverings that cover the mouth and nose will be required for everyone 2 years old and over. And, as usual, officials don’t want people taking their masks off except to eat or drink.

No cash will be accepted for purchases of food or drinks, parking or in team stores.

The complete list of protocols, along with additional details and frequently asked questions, can be found at the Nationals’ website.

“To me, it seems obvious we can have fans. If we can have indoor dining, I think we can have fans in an outdoor stadium,” Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer said Monday.

“We definitely want to see as many Nats fans out there as we safely can,” Scherzer said.

The Nationals said they will begin talks this week with city officials about increasing the number of fans permitted to attend games starting with the series that begins April 15 against visiting Arizona.

“Long time coming,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “So excited to see our fans. They’re our 27th man. Looking forward to seeing them.”

Nationals Park’s capacity is a little more than 41,000, so an attendance of 5,000 would represent slightly more than 12% of what the stadium can hold.

Crowds were banned entirely from all stadiums for the 2020 MLB regular season because of the coronavirus pandemic, although some people did attend postseason games. But with COVID-19 cases decreasing and the distribution of the vaccines increasing, more and more activities are showing signs of returning to normal — or somewhat normal.

The complete 2021 Nationals regular season schedule is available at nationals.com/Schedule.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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