SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California health officials gave the green light to outdoor sports, events and amusement parks Friday, citing outside activities combined with mask-wearing can significantly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Sutter Health Park holds 14,000 fans but for the last year, not a single one has walked through this gate. But after April 1, that could all change.
“I’m incredibly excited. This is news we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” River Cats General Manager Chip Maxson said.
It’s a big win for California after the state announced amusement parks, live performances, and ball fields are back in action.
Sports and concerts at outdoor venues will able to operate at 20 percent capacity in the Red tier and 33 percent in the less restrictive Orange tier. Amusement parks can open to 15 percent in Red and 25 percent in Orange.
The events can only be open to Californians, according to the guidance released by the public health department.
“Sacramento loves the River Cats, and so we’re so excited because they can come and enjoy us this season,” Maxson said.
It’s not just the fans who are excited about the news. Maxson says his employees are happy to come back.
“We employ 600-700 people per year, so the economic impact of not having River Cats baseball in 2020 was felt much further than just our fans not being able to come out,” Maxson said.
Fifty miles away in Vallejo, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is also preparing to welcome guests back.
“It’s been a big staple of Vallejo, so it being shutdown really affects the city and the surrounding areas. It would be a huge uplift for it to open again in any capacity,” Vallejo native John Schenone said. “Everyone during a pandemic like this is looking for an outlet. Kids are inside looking for some fun. The fact that we’ve come that far is amazing.”
It’s been a weird year with twists and turns at every corner but we’ve learned a lot — like not all heroes wear capes and the only way forward is together as a team.
“They can’t wait to play in front of fans,” Maxson said.
While Sutter Health Park and the Six Flags rollercoasters sit empty for now, starting April 1, that will all change with safety as the priority.
“We’re excited to take those steps so that everybody feels safe. They get back to enjoying a great time with their family at a RC game,” Maxson said.
Six Flags tells CBS13 they’re eager to welcome guests back with safety as a priority. They have yet to announce an opening day.
As for the River Cats, the stadium can open April 1, but the baseball season won’t begin until about a month after that.