Scenes from Yankee Stadium as the grounds crew prepares the ballpark for Opening Day on April 1, 2021, and the return of fans at 20% capacity. Credit: New York Yankees

A crowd of 10,850 will be allowed inside Yankee Stadium for Thursday’s Opening Day game against the Blue Jays – the first time fans get to see the Yankees play in person at the Stadium since the 2019 ALCS – but they will first have some hurdles to clear.

No fan will be able to enter the ballpark without proving he or she has been fully vaccinated – meaning both doses in the case of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine – or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of game time. In Thursday’s case, that is 1:05 p.m.

There will be no COVID testing at the Stadium, which starting in February became a vaccination site, something that will continue through the end of April at least.

Fans, in addition to being encouraged to arrive early, also are urged to visit yankees.com/updates for a full list and explanation of protocols that will include temperature checks as well.

"We recognize we’re doing this for the first time," Doug Behar, the Yankees senior vice president of stadium operations, said via Zoom on Tuesday afternoon. "This is new for all of us. It’ll be new for you, it’ll be new for me, so patience and understanding on everybody is certainly going to be at the forefront. But because we’ve been looking at this for the past 12 to 13 months, we feel we’re in a position to execute the right way."

Behar said most of the garages around the Stadium will be open and fans, once inside, should have a "seamless, recognizable experience, as they’ve had in the past" when attending games pre-COVID.

Concessions will be open, but cash will not be accepted. Fans will be seated for the most part, with rare exceptions, in pods of "twos and fours," Behar said, which is similar to how seating worked at Steinbrenner Field during the just-completed spring training in Tampa, Florida.

Face coverings are required for fans ages 2 and older – unless they are eating or drinking – a protocol at Steinbrenner Field infrequently enforced.

"We will have a team of folks who are responsible for ensuring compliance on not just face coverings, but occupancy in spaces," Behar said. "The foot traffic flow is important to us to make sure we’re managing that accordingly."

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