Take me out to the vaccine – and then the game? You betcha!
In an effort to get more COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of reluctant New Yorkers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that state residents who show up for a quick jab in the arm with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field will receive a free game ticket.
For sport fans in the ‘Big Apple’ this could be a win-win by helping achieve herd immunity while attending a free sporting event. Cuomo also disclosed that starting on May 19, both sporting venues will be opened to all vaccinated guests. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field have a maximum capacity between 42,000 and 50,000, respectively.
“Come a little bit early and get your vaccine at the gate, you’re going to the game, anyway, it’s on your way, stop and get a vaccine. If you get a vaccine, you get a free ticket to a Yankees or Mets game,” Cuomo said during a news conference.
“Next time you go to the game and you’re vaccinated, you can enjoy the game. Sitting next to your friend, sitting next to your family, which to me is a big part of the enjoyment of the game,” he added.
Yankees President Randy Levine said he was elated to be part of the free ticket offer and was particularly pleased with plans to open stadium gates in two weeks’ time to anyone who has been vaccinated.
“We were at capacity at 10,850 and the building sounded like there were 50,000 people cheering, doing some other things, from start to finish. And that’s what it’s all about, it gave all of us spirit, it reminded us of the way it used to be and the way it can be again,” Levine said in a press statement.
“We’ll put it all out on our website, how it’s going to work. Basically, you come to the game, as the governor said, you take a vaccine shot, get a voucher and go to that game. If that game is sold out, you go tomorrow night. Go to a game of your choice,” he added.
New York Mets President Sandy Alderson echoed the same sentiment and added that the admission of vaccinated-only fans will avoid having to separate the vaccinated and unvaccinated. COVID-19 protocols will still be in effect for attendees and masks will be required.
“With this new opportunity for us, I think that we will get more families to the ballpark, we will have more kids in the ballpark, and will be returned to creating those memories that are so important and such a part of our lives,” Alderson said in a statement. “I can remember going to my first major league game when I was nine, Chicago White Sox against the Yankees, and you’ll be happy to know that even then I rooted against the Yankees.”
Baseball fans weren’t the only ones cheering after Cuomo’s news conference. Starting on Sept. 14, Cuomo said, capacity at all Broadway shows can rise to 100%. That left observers musing over whether free theater tickets might be offered next, in reward for a vaccine jab.