Redbirds, 901 FC prepare to kick off new season with COVID-19 guidelines

Redbirds, 901 FC prepare to kickoff new season

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Images of thousands of fans at a Texas Rangers game Monday have been circulating.

With the Memphis Redbirds first game scheduled for May 4 and 901 FC beginning June 15 Craig Unger, president of both teams says fans will be allowed to attend.

“Currently our plan is for about 30% capacity,” said Unger. “AutoZone park holds about 10,000 people so we’re between 3,350 and that’s all provided 6-foot social distancing.”

Unger says as game day approaches specific guidelines will be released, and as vaccination numbers increase he hopes those guidelines will change.

“Obviously we’re very optimistic that as we go on through the year more and more people get vaccinated that capacity will increase,” said Unger. “Look we need capacity to increase, that is the business model for sports and entertainment in general.”

Currently, Shelby County Health Department guidelines require sporting event visitors to distance by six feet and wear masks. No more than eight members of a family or group can sit together. As stated in Health Directive No. 19.

Indoor or outdoor sporting events that involve the likelihood that visitors will engage in increased vocalization, such as yelling, cheering, singing, or speaking loudly, must be separated at least 6-feet apart and must wear face coverings consistent with the Face Mask Directive. Family units/groups of no more than eight guests may sit together, but no member of one group can be within 6 feet of any member of another group.”

The Memphis Grizzlies are limiting capacity to about 3,500 fans per game.

Jeff Crane Deputy Athletics Director with the University of Memphis says they continue to only allow family members of players to attend games.

“We have not opened up our facilities at this point for volleyball, soccer, softball, baseball to fans to the general public,” said Crane.

Baptist Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld says he’s optimistic about outdoor sporting events.

“I have always been fairly optimistic about outdoor sporting events,” said Threlkeld. “We had a lot of rules about distancing and so forth, but you don’t hear about outbreaks at college or pro football games.”

Threlkeld also says he’s relatively optimistic about seeing a fourth wave in Memphis because of vaccination numbers increasing.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.