COVID-19 crowds: What’s next for sports, entertainment events?

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More guidance on proms, wedding receptions, fairs and more to come

Sports and entertainment events will be able to welcome spectators again.

Facilities will be able to reopen at 25% maximum indoor capacity and 30% outdoor capacity if they follow established guidelines, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday during a regularly scheduled press briefing on the coronavirus situation in the state.

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Spectators must be seated in pods of six people or fewer. Pods must be at least 6 feet apart.

Face masks will be required for employees and guests, the governor said. Facilities also should have pathways for spectators that allow for social distancing.

General admission for lawn seating or standing room is allowed so long as masks are worn and social distancing is marked and maintained.

The Cincinnati Reds shared its excitement over the governor’s announcement.

“We are excited to welcome fans back to the ballpark to kick off the season on Opening Day,” said Phil Castellini, Reds president and chief operating officer. “We thank Gov. DeWine and the officials at the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for their guidance and cooperation throughout the planning process.”

Fans will be required to wear face masks at Great American Ball Park unless they are eating or drinking in their seats.

All tickets will be issued digitally via the MLB Ballpark app to allow for contactless entry.

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DeWine added that if the state’s COVID-19 situation improves this spring and summer, more spectators could be allowed. However, he also addressed concerns about a more contagious COVID variant that’s been detected in Ohio.

“We’re going to watch it and we’re going to watch the early signs,” he said. “We just have to be careful as we move forward and we have to do it with good common sense.”

Guidance for proms, banquet centers, wedding receptions, parades, festivals and fairs will be available soon, DeWine said.

The state recently approved the Columbus Blue Jackets to allow 10% of capacity, about 1,953 fans, at games starting next month, the Associated Press reported.

Fans are required to wear masks and will be socially distanced.

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