Stands can now be 30% full for baseball and footballThe Korean government said Friday it will start allowing stadiums to be at 30 percent capacity for local professional sporting events this week thanks to the recent virus-free experiences at ballparks.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it has agreed with the quarantine authorities to increase the limit on the number of fans allowed at sports games to 30 percent of available seats from the current 10 percent.
It said there have been no recent Covid-19 cases related to baseball or football games, which reopened their stadium gates for fans on July 26 and this past Saturday, respectively.
KBO began its season on May 5 to empty stadiums. After almost three months of playing at empty stadiums, the KBO started to open the gates to sell only 10 percent of tickets available at their respective stadiums toward the end of last month.
Five KBO matches, including the Kia Tigers-LG Twins game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul scheduled for Monday, will be subject to the new 30 percent rule.
But the KBO remained cautious, saying it will have its 10 teams sell only 25 percent of tickets available at their respective stadiums. As they will be allowing more fans into the stadiums, the KBO said that it will be stricter with social distancing, cheering and entering and exciting the stadiums.
"We will fill 25 percent of our stands until social distancing becomes commonplace in baseball parks," the KBO said. "We will strictly comply with quarantine guidelines and help fans enjoy baseball games."
The government will tighten on-site quarantine inspections at sports facilities with sports associations and asked them to comply with health and safety protocols at ballparks.
According to guidelines, fans must wear face masks at all times and sit apart in the stands. Eating and loud chanting will also be prohibited.
The Korea Professional Football League (K League), too, will apply the expanded limit to a match between Seongnam FC and Busan I Park Friday.
While football and baseball are slowly allowing more fans into their stadiums, golf, in both the KPGA and the KLPGA Tours, is continuing to be played at empty golf courses.
BY KANG YOO-RIM, YONHAP [email@example.com]