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Maskless fans at Petco Park raise enforcement concerns

Padres Opening Day -- Barely anyone wearing masks behind home plate.png
Posted at 9:39 PM, Apr 02, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Opening Day was a great success. But some San Diego Padres fans were left concerned after seeing many people without wearing masks at Petco Park.

ABC 10News spoke to a baseball fan who was switching channels between the Padres game and the Colorado Rockies game on Opening Day. She noticed that the Rockies fans were covered up, while San Diegans were not.

It was a nail-biter, but the Padres did not disappoint fans on Opening Day, whether they were cheering from the stands or I'm their couches.

"I'm a big Padres fan, and I was really looking forward to Opening Day," ABC 10News viewer Susan said. "I was watching the game, and then it dawned on me that I'm looking into the seats, and nobody behind home plate was wearing a mask!"

Susan said she was disappointed both at her fellow fans and the Padres organization for not enforcing COVID-19 protocols.

"It was hot, but that's not what they agreed to when they entered the ballpark," Susan said.

According to San Diego County, the ball club created a 68-page "2021 Return of Fans Operational Plan," stating they would follow all state health guidelines. On the Padres web site's Code of Conduct page, it clearly states that fans must be masked unless actively eating or drinking. Fans said the organization was so adamant about following the 20% guest capacity rule yet failed to enforce the masking protocol.

"[They had] five hours to do something, to walk up and down and just remind people, 'You agreed to wear your mask. Please put your mask on.' But I didn't see any of that happening," Susan said.

In response, Padres CEO Erik Greupner sent ABC 10News this statement:

"Guest experience and safety is our top priority. While fans are permitted to remove their masks while actively eating or drinking during games, masks must be worn at all other times inside Petco Park. Our game day staff will continue to diligently enforce this policy."
Erik Greupner, Padres CEO

Susan said she is worried that this behavior may have consequences for later games she plans to attend.

"Once everybody is vaccinated, I won't be so worried, but that's not the case right now," Susan said. "I don't want it to ruin it for the rest of the people for the rest of the season if they decide, 'Ok, no more fans because half the people won't wear masks!'"

Padres officials added that fans who ignore the rules will receive warnings and could face potential removal if they do not comply.