The New York Mets and Yankees will be allowed to fill sections of their stadiums to capacity with fans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, effective May 19.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that fans will be divided into vaccinated and non-vaccinated sections. Those sitting in the vaccinated section must show proof of full immunization status, which can be done via the state's recently implemented Excelsior Pass app.
Vaccinated fans still must wear masks, and children 15 and under who haven't been vaccinated may join their families.
In the unvaccinated sections, fan capacity will remain at 33 percent, with masks required, to allow for social distancing.
"No testing, but if you're vaccinated, have the Excelsior Pass, proof of vaccination, that will determine where you sit," Cuomo said.
"It's a different experience with a crowd," he continued. "The crowd energizes, the crowd brings the rhythm, the crowd brings the dynamic."
The Yankees and Mets also will be hosting vaccination clinics at their stadiums before the games. Fans who visit Yankee Stadium or Citi Field and receive the single-dose Johnson Johnson vaccine will be given a free ticket to the game.
"We want to thank Governor Cuomo for his decision, which will allow more fans into Yankee Stadium and provide us additional opportunities to further encourage people to get vaccinated," the Yankees said in a statement. "We have been honored to host a vaccination site at Yankee Stadium over these last three months. If we can encourage more people to get vaccinated by giving away Yankees tickets, we are all in."
Cuomo did not say whether a vaccinated section will be added to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, which the Toronto Blue Jays will use as their home park beginning June 1. Canadian border-crossing rules have forced the Blue Jays to play all games in the U.S. so far this season.
Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Cuomo, tweeted after his news conference Wednesday that "we will certainly explore expanding this to others who are willing."
As of Wednesday, 35.7 percent of New Yorkers were fully vaccinated, with 46.9 percent of residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccines that require two doses.
Cuomo said the state's positivity rate has fallen to 1.49 percent, which is the lowest since Oct. 28.
--Field Level Media