Friday marked an exciting day for baseball fans across California as the state announced fans may partially fill outdoor ballparks as early as April 2021 if COVID-19 cases continue to go down.
According to the state's new guidelines released Friday afternoon, California counties in the red tier can allow local sports teams with open-roof stadiums to bring back fans in the stands as early as Thursday, April 1.
As of this week, Southern California counties -- which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura -- remain in the strict purple tier but officials in Los Angeles and Orange counties expect their counties to move up to the less restrictive red tier as early as next week.
Should the California counties enter the red tier in the coming days, outdoor sports stadiums can fill up to 20% of the capacity. Small and large outdoor venues in the purple tier are allowed to reopen outdoor activities with 100 people or less.
The timing of Friday's announcement bodes well for both Southern California MLB teams -- the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers -- as the Angels host their home opener on April 1 and the Dodgers have theirs on April 9.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the team's official blog Dodger Insider that Friday's announcement from the state was great news for the Boys in Blue.
"That's fantastic...last year not having fans in the regular season, any amount of fans is great for all of us," Roberts told Dodger Insider.
Over in Orange County, the Angels appear to be just as excited as the Dodgers skipper, as the Halos opened the team's statement with "Welcome home, Angels Fans♥."
Below is a statement issued by Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten:
"On behalf of the Dodger organization and its fans, we want to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Governor Newsom, his staff and the many others who have worked tirelessly on these revised guidelines which provide a blueprint for California outdoor sports venues to re-open to fans. Like the Governor, we’re optimistic that California will continue to make progress in the fight against COVID-19 and that we can safely host fans to start the season. Safety is paramount, and the Dodgers continue to work with local officials and Major League Baseball to finalize protocols to protect players, fans and staff.
The Dodgers hope to announce health and safety protocols for fans as well as a ticket policy for reduced capacity in the coming days. The Dodgers and local officials will continue to monitor conditions, with the hope of safely adding greater capacity as the season progresses."
Below is a statement issued by Angeles President John Carpino:
"Angels Baseball is grateful that the Office of the Governor, State and Local Health Officials, Major League Baseball, and the five MLB Teams in California worked closely to develop plans that safely allow fans into our Ballparks for the start of the 2021 Season. We are thrilled to welcome fans back safely to the Big A."