The Nationals have been granted approval by the District of Columbia to increase capacity at Nationals Park for their homestand later this month and to operate at full capacity in mid-June.
Earlier today, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a slew of reopenings for restaurants, bars, and sports and entertainment venues in the city, easing up on restrictions that had been in place since the beginning of the pandemic 15 months ago.
Included in the mayor's announcement was approval to allow for more fans at Nationals Park in the coming weeks. Beginning Friday, the team is allowed to host up to 36 percent capacity at the ballpark, which seats roughly 40,000.
The Nats must continue to abide by the current 25 percent capacity restriction for this week's three-game homestand against the Phillies, but will be able to take advantage of the new 36 percent capacity restriction when they return home May 21 to face the Orioles, Reds and Brewers.
The Nationals' next homestand following that one is set to begin June 10 against the Giants, and it appears they'll still be constrained to the 36 percent limit for the opener of that series. But with the District-wide rules relaxing the next day, they'll be allowed to open to full capacity June 11 for the rest of that weekend series versus San Francisco and subsequent home games against the Pirates and Mets.
"The Washington Nationals are delighted by Mayor Bowser's announcement today, which will permit the ballpark to operate at full capacity beginning June 11," the team said in a statement released this afternoon. "The team was also granted a waiver to expand seating to 36 percent effective May 14. We want to thank Mayor Bowser and her administration for their partnership and collaboration over the past several months as we worked together on a safe and comprehensive plan to get fans back into the ballpark. Our organization will continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of our players, staff, and fans as we welcome everyone back to Nationals Park."
The Nationals haven't played a home game in front of anything close to a full house since Game 5 of the 2019 World Series. They played all 30 home games during the shortened 2020 season with no fans in attendance, then opened this season with a city-mandated cap of 5,000 fans (equal to 12.5 percent capacity) before it was increased to 25 percent later in April.
Announced paid crowds on South Capitol Street so far this season have ranged from a low of 4,801 on opening day to a high of 8,561 last Thursday against the Braves.
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