(Editor's note: See the comments section at the end of the story to share tips and information with other fans gleaned from your own experience at Dodger Stadium.)
Dodgers fans rejoice! Dodger Stadium is open to the public once again. Last season, the team rallied to a World Series championship with cardboard cutouts and piped-in crowd noise (surprisingly not the first time) because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A limited number of fans will be welcomed to the Dodgers' home opener Friday when they host the Washington Nationals. Ironically, this is the team they faced the last time fans were allowed in the park in October 2019. The Dodgers lost and were knocked out of the playoffs. There's less pressure on this game, but the team will be taking a 5-2 record into the matchup, so there's plenty of excitement.
The Angels won their home opener April 1, with the players expressing gratitude for the renewed presence of the fans. Let's see if the Dodgers channel the energy the same way.
All tickets will be digital. Fans will have to access them via a mobile device with the MLB Ballpark App. And if you really want a souvenir, maybe frame a screenshot of your access code.
Seats will be in socially distanced pods of two to six people and all seats must be purchased together. So Venmo is your friend if you're in charge of getting tickets for the group.
Attendance will be limited to less than 15,000 — about 3,600 fewer than the one-third capacity allowed in the orange tier — to allow for social distancing, Dodgers president Stan Kasten said.
Only tickets for games through April have been released at this time. Several games are already sold out at the Dodgers website, so fans are being redirected to the secondary market if they still need to purchase tickets. Tickets there for the home opener start at around $170 while tickets to other games are $30 to $80.
At the stadium, employees will be at ticket windows to answer questions. Just don’t go expecting to purchase a ticket there.
Negative COVID test or vaccine
There is a new rule at Dodger Stadium this year regarding bags, so don’t leave home with your usual game day backpack. The rule is similar to that of NFL stadiums in that only clear plastic bags smaller than 12” x 12” x 6“ are permitted. Diaper bags accompanying an infant will be allowed in.
All parking must be purchased prior to arriving at the game. General admission parking is available for purchase with tickets and costs $20. If you want to be fancy and purchase a suite for four to six people, a parking pass for every two tickets will be included (two passes for four people, three for six).
All parking at Dodger Stadium is ADA compliant. Spaces will not be distanced from each other, but since there will be fewer cars let in than usual, social distancing in the parking lot should be manageable.
As always, no tailgating is allowed in the parking lots. Gotta party inside.
Masks will be required by all fans ages two and up. The masks must cover the nose and mouth and remain on while inside the ballpark, unless actively eating or drinking. Certain face coverings will not be accepted, including bandanas and neck gaiters. Official Dodgers masks are available on the team store website if you want to be safe and extra spirited. If you're really in a pinch, the team will provide you with a compliant mask, but it's recommended that fans bring their own.
If you weren't able to fit hand sanitizer in your small clear plastic bag — or you just forgot — there will be hand sanitizer stations located throughout the ballpark.
Social distancing will be observed throughout Dodger Stadium. There will be guided posts in the concourses to help direct the flow of traffic and to remind fans to keep a safe distance . There will also be a 12-foot buffer between the dugouts and bullpens and the stands to ensure safe distance between players and fans. Photos with and autographs from the players will not be permitted. You will just have to opt for waving at Mookie Betts as he trots out to right field.
Dodger Stadium is going cashless this year. All concessions and merchandise must be paid for with debit or credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. If you have no idea what any of those are, don't sweat: Seven Cash-to-Card kiosks are located throughout the stadium for you to convert your cash into a physical or digital card that can be used for purchases.
Instead of wandering the concourse deciding what you want to eat, all food orders will be placed from your seat online at dodgers.com/food. Fans must select from the vendors closest to them. After placing an order, fans walk to the concourse to pick up their orders. Vendors will not sell food or drinks in the stands and the popular Right Field Pavilion will not be all-you-can-eat for the foreseeable future. But there are two new additions to the Dodgers Stadium cuisine for fans to try, the michelada sausage and brisket sandwich (smoked for 12 hours).
On opening day, the new online concession ordering system couldn't keep up with fan demand and the Dodgers reverted to allowing fans to line up to order food at concession stands. The team also planned to open more concession fans.
All restrooms will have limited capacity and have been equipped with touchless soap and towel dispensers.
The Dodgers have initiated a non-smoking policy for the first time. The same applies to the parking lots. Maybe with fewer people, there will be less stress and less need for a smoke break.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.