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Observations on attending games at OPACY under restrictions

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Just thought we should have a thread where people who have attended games at OPACY this year can post their observations of what it is like to attend a game under the current restrictions and conditions. I won’t be at any games until May, but I’m interested in what others have experienced.    

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I'm going to a Nats game this Saturday and an O's game next Saturday (24th).   Certainly looking forward to my first live sporting events in over a year.

I am in no way an anti-mask person and I have always followed all mask rules & requests, but I hope we don't have to wear it outdoors for the entire game.   I'll be with a friend for both games who is also totally vaccinated and I assume our seats will be distanced from other fans.   I'll gladly put on a mask when I get up to go to concessions or the restroom, but I hope that outdoors I can sit in my seat without one.

The Orioles sent a questionnaire back in Jan or Feb asking about all the possible precautions they would take (distancing, masks, contactless payment, etc), and which ones would mean the most to me.   It wanted me to rank them all.   And I honestly couldn't.   Because basically, I was looking at a binary situation:

   1) If I wasn't fully vaccinated, I wasn't going to attend a game, period.

   2) Once fully vaccinated, I planned to attend games and I really don't care about the restrictions.   

So in either case, all the precautions didn't matter to me.   I either wouldn't be there so it didn't affect me, or I would be there vaccinated and I feel it doesn't affect me.   I finally just didn't do the survey, because it just wanted me to rank those items and didn't give me any place to explain why I didn't care about them.

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I was there Opening Day and it was great to be back.  The concessions were a little limited, but Boog's and Boog's corner store were open, but no Boog.  They did expect you to wear the mask the entire time unless you were actively eating or drinking, but by the 7th inning, maybe 50% in our section had their masks off.  I paid for parking in Lot F and they didn't open until 1 hour before the game, so me and many others waiting in our cars in line for 45 minutes, but that was our fault, it was on the ticket that it opened 1 hour before the game, but obviously we didn't pay attention.  Not sure about the B & C lots.  Overall it was a good experience and I'll be back next weekend.

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8 minutes ago, citisights said:

 

I was there on Opening Day, and it was great to be back ......

 

o

 

Rub it in, why don't ya ??? I'm glad that you had a good time. The Orioles need all the support that they can get.

 

o

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12 minutes ago, citisights said:

I was there Opening Day and it was great to be back.  The concessions were a little limited, but Boog's and Boog's corner store were open, but no Boog.  They did expect you to wear the mask the entire time unless you were actively eating or drinking, but by the 7th inning, maybe 50% in our section had their masks off.  I paid for parking in Lot F and they didn't open until 1 hour before the game, so me and many others waiting in our cars in line for 45 minutes, but that was our fault, it was on the ticket that it opened 1 hour before the game, but obviously we didn't pay attention.  Not sure about the B & C lots.  Overall it was a good experience and I'll be back next weekend.

I was wondering - I know the Orioles have said they will not accept cash at the box office.  Do the parking lot attendants accept cash?

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My wife was not able to bring her purse into the park last night. It was maybe a larger than average sized purse, but still a purse. She had to check it at a locker and pay a fee. She just wanted to have a hat and gloves with her in case the temperature dropped, and women's outfits don't usually have pockets. To not allow a purse in the park under the pretense of COVID safety is really lame and frankly, sexist, since it's going to be more of a burden on women.

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15 minutes ago, WillyM said:

I was wondering - I know the Orioles have said they will not accept cash at the box office.  Do the parking lot attendants accept cash?

The site says cashless. Also, when you buy tickets it gives you an option to buy parking too.

The lot opening only an hour before first pitch is annoying. I’m paying to park and not be in a garage or at the Inner Harbor, why can’t they open before the gates?

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Parking is also by card. I went to the rain postponement, and tbh the ushers were total buzzkills. Stood in the concourse during a particularly long period of rain, went down the tunnel to see if anything was happening with grounds crew and after about 5-10 seconds an usher came over and said I couldn’t stand there. Before he walked over there was nobody within 50 feet of me. In the concourse, was eating peanuts and having a beer with my brother, nobody within 20 or so feet and apparently my brother dithered in between sips too long and somebody (looked to be more of a full time employee) came over and told him he should be more considerate of others and put his mask up in between sips. Meanwhile, everyone nearby was doing roughly the same thing.

I get they are trying to keep people safe (or at least comfortable in their own minds) but they need to be given a little latitude when enforcing the rules, I think.

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2 hours ago, Moshagge3 said:

My wife was not able to bring her purse into the park last night. It was maybe a larger than average sized purse, but still a purse. She had to check it at a locker and pay a fee. She just wanted to have a hat and gloves with her in case the temperature dropped, and women's outfits don't usually have pockets. To not allow a purse in the park under the pretense of COVID safety is really lame and frankly, sexist, since it's going to be more of a burden on women.

The O’s have publicized this rule.   I think the reason is to avoid having to poke around inside them for food and other items that aren’t allowed in.   It affects women more often but I wouldn’t call it sexist.   

By the way, they did this at a UVA basketball game I attended last year about 2-3 weeks before the Covid shutdown.   We’d parked about 10 minutes away and my wife and sister-in-law had to go back to the car and hide their purses in the car.  Almost missed the start of the game.   
 

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My wife and I went to Sunday's game with another couple and had a great time. A couple observations:

- Bottom line up front is that I'd very much encourage folks to go. We've been relatively cautious during Covid, but really at no point felt cramped or uncomfortable. Certainly some of that is that now most of the folks I was with were fully vaccinated, but there's plenty of space in between seats and really not that many people. Even coming into the stadium and in concession lines, people were generally respectful of distance and it was no issue. I'm sure, anecdotally, there will always be someone messing up, but it wasn't an issue for us. Just wanted to start with that context for those that harbor understandable apprehensions, acknowledging everyone has different circumstances/risk perceptions.

- Definitely make sure you read the modified regulations before you go - the issue with purses and parking, as some folks noted above, are definitely present. You've just got to be aware of them and plan (my wife switched out her purse just before leaving the house, and my friend's wife had a borderline-sized purse that got waved through after a little negotiation). I can't speak for parking, as we just did a garage on Pratt.

- Mobile ticketing and electronic payments were all fully in use, so do recommend just coming prepared. If you're comfortable with using them, it's no issue, but understand some people aren't as tech savvy. Just a pretty minor planning factor.

- Regarding masks, most people were good about wearing them, though clearly some of that slipped when people were sitting at their seats. I did see a few times where ushers enforced the masking at your seat rule, but it didn't seem overly draconian (it wasn't that if your beer left your lips for more than two seconds and your mask wasn't up, ushers would descend on you). Those patrons I observed were mostly compliant when directed (except the stray Phillies fan who decided to be difficult). Although I know some folks aren't crazy about it, to be honest, I've been at work every day for the last year wearing a mask the entire time for 8+ hours, so I'm not especially sympathetic. Little bit of a pain, but won't kill ya for a couple hours.

- As others have stated, most but not all concessions appeared to be open. Prices did feel a touch on the steep side, but I'd bet they're comparable to what they were in 2019. The O's clearly haven't moved to the Ravens modified pricing.

- Lastly, the bar scene before the game was of course quite different than normal, but still very workable and pleasant. Pickles, Sliders, etc have taken over huge spaces in front of their buildings, with plentiful tables well-spaced out. We got to Sliders at maybe 11:45 before a 1 o'clock game on a Sunday, and we had no issue getting a table.

Again, overall would recommend folks go, if you're comfortable. I'll tell you it was absolutely great to get back out there and do something normal after having been cooped up for so long.

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I went Opening Day. I had a great experience. 
 

Pros:

- No traffic because the Pandemic. 
- The lot under the bridge by the train was only $10 and took cash. 
- No lines for the bathroom or when you enter the stadium. 
- The staff there was really cool and you could tell that they were going the extra mile to make everyone comfortable. 
 

Cons:

- No Vendors in the stands. Such as beer man. (Hope Clarence is aight)

- Long concession lines. Be smart and plan accordingly. 
- The hand sanitizer machines were mostly empty that they had strategically placed. 

Now what everyone is worried about. Mask wearing. Most people were very cool the entire time. The staff has even little paddle signs that they raise near someone to get them to put their mask on. I will say once I switched to the lower bowl at the end of the game, it was as if COVID never existed. The people in the cheap seats were 95% wearing masks at all times. Behind 1st base was about 25%. 

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Copied from another thread where I’d misposted it:

The no outside food policy may be a misguided response to the current situation, but I don’t think it’s part of some secret plot to abolish permanently the O’s very liberal policies on outside food.    They could have altered that policy a long time ago if they’d wanted to - they’ve been far more accommodating to fans than most teams on this score, for a long time.   

I guess we’ll find out next year.   

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3 hours ago, sportsfan8703 said:

I went Opening Day. I had a great experience. 
 

Pros:

- No traffic because the Pandemic. 
- The lot under the bridge by the train was only $10 and took cash. 
- No lines for the bathroom or when you enter the stadium. 
- The staff there was really cool and you could tell that they were going the extra mile to make everyone comfortable. 
 

Cons:

- No Vendors in the stands. Such as beer man. (Hope Clarence is aight)

- Long concession lines. Be smart and plan accordingly. 
- The hand sanitizer machines were mostly empty that they had strategically placed. 

Now what everyone is worried about. Mask wearing. Most people were very cool the entire time. The staff has even little paddle signs that they raise near someone to get them to put their mask on. I will say once I switched to the lower bowl at the end of the game, it was as if COVID never existed. The people in the cheap seats were 95% wearing masks at all times. Behind 1st base was about 25%. 

Mask vs. no mask... watching on TV throughout the stands, you would think the ushers would be more draconian in the lower bowl considering I've seen many people without masks on behind the batters and from the CF camera.

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I went to the first game of the double header yesterday - I couldn't stay for the second. I've posted photos on the OH Facebook site for those who would like to see them. Apologies up front. I posted them in chronological order, from when I got there to when I left, but Facebook seems to have scrambled them up upon posting, so their order doesn't always make sense.

There weren't the usual outside vendors, either when I got there, or when I left.

I bought a ticket at a walk up window. They're using the Will Call windows as well as the usual ones so they can spread out, so that no two windows are open next to each other. The usual in-stadium ticket windows were not open. I told them I couldn't do tickets by cell phone, so they just printed one for me (I took a photo of it).

The flag court is closed. For no apparent reason, there is a giant Chik-fil-a bobblehead cow on the flagcourt.

Boogs' has a new tower sign next to it, with a spinning circular Pepsi sign on top, like a roadside diner.

Team Store now has separate entrance and exit, and they limit the number of people in the store. They still have a supply of Opening Day lapel pins (I collect them). Hooray!

Seasons Pizza has been replaced with another place, but that may have happened last season. I don't remember.

A lot of places are closed. Many of the normal burger and dog places. The smaller team stores. Much of the upper deck vendors are closed.

Ushers carry small signs reminding you to mask up. Even the cops wear masks. There are hand washing stations.

The kids gym equipment is gone.

The street signs again don't have individual players on them, just logos, or reminders of the new safety rules, like Wear Masks and such.

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