Seattle Mariners' new COVID-19 guidance allows nearly 31,000 fans inside T-Mobile Park

New COVID-19 guidance at T-Mobile Park is hitting a home run with Seattle Mariners fans. 

The ballpark is now able to sell more than 26,000 tickets to fans who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus with no social distancing in the stands. Hundreds of other tickets will be sold in socially-distanced pods of one to six people.

The total ballpark capacity under this new guidance is nearly 31,000. Beginning Tuesday, all fans who get their vaccine while at T-Mobile Park will receive a free pair of tickets to an upcoming game, plus an Amazon gift card. It's free to get vaccinated and no appointment is needed.

Fans said seeing a larger crowd at Monday’s match against the Minnesota Twins made it feel closer to a real baseball game.

"It’s the energy! The crowd, the energy, even the mascot coming back last homestead was just wonderful. The team needs it the cheerleading," said season ticket holder Holly Sibold. 

"Oh God! We’re so pumped. We’re amped. First live baseball game since 2019," said Mariners fan Madison Taylor. "You can’t beat the atmosphere, the people, the beer, the dogs."

COVID threw the Mariners a major curveball when it forced fans out of the stands, but that has changed thanks to the latest expansion plan. Fully vaccinated fans enter the gates at Home Plate and Left Field. Those who want to get in without a face covering must show proof of their vaccinations and get a handstamp before the security check.

People who are unvaccinated have to wear masks and go through the Center Field and Right Field gates. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask at all times unless actively eating or drinking.

Fans said they appreciate the Mariners taking a swing at filling as many seats as safely possible. 

"It feels good and we’re sitting in the vaccinated section because I’m vaccinated and I don’t have to wear a mask!" said Mariners fan Maile Sze.

RELATED: Seattle Mariners no longer require fully vaccinated fans to wear masks at games

"Once everything opens up, we’ll be happier," said Sibold.

Sibold and her friends couldn’t wait to get inside. The group of loyal fans show up to every home game several hours before it starts. Luckily for them, they were right on time when former Mariner Nelson Cruz walked up to the ballpark. Now with the Minnesota Twins, Cruz still took pictures and signed autographs with the group of local fans.

"I mean we were shaking literally. That’s one of the fun things about seeing the guys in person. You get the conversation. It’s just great," said Sibold.

Though T-Mobile Park is not open at its full 47,000 capacity, fans said the new guidelines allow more people to get in and cheer on the team. 

"It probably boots their morale because they’re probably really sick of playing with nobody," said Sze.

Kids between the ages of 2-16 must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The young fans can bring a printed copy or show an email on a cellphone from the test provider. Onsite testing is available for $10 Ellis Pavilion.

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