The Tacoma Rainiers are the first of the local professional teams to offer incentives for vaccinated fans and increase available seating with the 2021 Minor League Baseball season opening on Tuesday.

While lower levels of minor-league baseball started their season, the Rainiers and most Triple-A teams don’t open their season until Thursday. And when they do, the Rainiers will offer special sections for fans who have received full COVID-19 vaccination.

With Gov. Jay Inslee issuing new guidelines for professional outdoor sporting events, which includes expanded capacity up to 50 percent of the total occupancy if there are designated sections for vaccinated fans, the Rainiers quickly adjusted their ticket sales and seating. They are now offering single-game tickets now on sale for the first homestand that runs from May 6-11. Fans must show proof of vaccination on the day of the game.

“We are thrilled by this announcement which allows us to provide a Cheney Stadium experience closer to what our fans have known for over 60 years,” said Tacoma Rainiers president Aaron Artman. “This guidance gives vaccinated fans the chance to safely gather for Rainiers baseball, without distancing, and feel a sense of normalcy that we’ve deeply missed for too long.” 

Major League Baseball sources said the Mariners are in the process of creating similar sections for vaccinated fans to increase capacity. An announcement could come as soon as Thursday.

Per the news release: “Fans in vaccinated sections will have no social distancing restrictions but will be required to wear masks unless actively eating or drinking. Any ticket buyer who purchases seats in a vaccinated section but is unable to provide proof of vaccine at the gates will be seated in a non-vaccinated section, based on availability, or given a voucher(s) to a future game.

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Children ages 2-15 will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result dating no more than 72 hours prior to entering the stadium in order to sit in a vaccinated section. Self-administered rapid testing will be available outside Cheney Stadium (please plan extra time to enter the stadium). If a child tests positive for COVID-19, no members of their party will be able to enter Cheney Stadium, and they will be given vouchers to a future game. Children under 2 can enter the stadium without masks or negative tests.”

The Rainiers will also be offering a walk-up vaccination station in the “R Bar” seating area for non-vaccinated fans on May 8. No early registration is required, and the Rainiers staff will provide free snacks or cold drinks to fans who receive their Johnson & Johnson shot. The organization is planning additional vaccine dates during the season. 

For the latest information on ticket sales at limited capacity, and health and safety protocols at Cheney Stadium to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit WeRTacoma.com/Rainiers-COVID