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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Here's What To Expect At Great American Ball Park On 'Re-Opening Day'

Cory Sharber
Local leaders gather after announcing guidelines that will be in place at Great American Ball Park June 2.

As Great American Ball Park gets ready to welcome fans at full capacity June 2, most guidelines will be lifted while some remain in place.

On June 2, Ohio will lift most COVID-19 health orders, including the mask mandate, which will allow for over 42,000 fans to attend Reds games going forward. Meanwhile, FC Cincinnati will open TQL Stadium to full capacity on June 19.

Masks will not be required at Great American Ball Park and social distancing guidelines will be removed. Digital tickets and cashless purchases will remain in effect and recently introduced backpack rules will stay in place.

More than 46% of Hamilton County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. To encourage the public to continue getting vaccinated, the Reds will be offering tickets for $10 for Monday-Thursday games to fans who present a vaccination card through the end of the 2021 regular season. 

Credit Cory Sharber / WVXU
Mayor John Cranley (pictured left) and Hamilton Co. Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas (right) urged people to get vaccinated and remember the lives lost during the pandemic.

Hamilton County Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas said Re-Opening Day is a time to celebrate the lives lost during the pandemic.

"We owe all of them that we need to remember them and this is a joyous time to cheer louder, to clap harder, to smile wider, to laugh more often and live life to its fullest for them," Summerow Dumas said.

Mayor John Cranley said that it hasn't really sunk in to most people that the vaccine "liberates us" and that everyone has access to one.

"It's free," Cranley said. "If you haven't gotten one, get one. Don't be stupid."

By June 2, Reds President and COO Phil Castellini said less than half of MLB stadiums will be back to full capacity by then. He said this could have an impact on the players' performances going forward.

"The guys talked about how amazing it is to hear a crowd versus having the empty stadium of last year, so every single thing we can do to add more volume to that has a huge impact and that creates that energy in the park and trust me, these players feed off of it," Castellini said. "It's important and that's why it's called a home field advantage."

COVID-19 cases are trending down within the region. Hamilton County is reporting its lowest daily case numbers in months and Cincinnati currently has a positivity rate of 5.3%.

The Reds will play the Philadelphia Phillies next Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. with ticket prices starting as low as $5. Duke Energy Center and the fins on TQL Stadium will be lit up red to celebrate.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.