As Texas Scales Back Regulations, the Rangers May Have to Wait to Host Fans at Globe Life Field

Chris Halicke

The Texas Rangers have been planning to sell tickets for their home games this year, in accordance with current state regulations. 

Given the circumstances, the Rangers may be forced to put any of those plans on hold.

COVID-19 cases continue to spike throughout Texas. The state saw another record number for hospitalizations on Thursday, now making it 14 straight days of record numbers.

In response, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been forced to reinstate limitations on certain businesses and other services. Bars were forced to close by noon on Friday. Restaurants will have to scale back dine-in capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent by Monday. All rafting and tubing businesses must close. And all outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars," Abbott said in a press release. "The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health."

Governor Abbott has also paused all reopening phases until further notice. As Texas tries to navigate the current spike in positive cases, Abbott also urges Texans to do their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

"Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can," Abbott said.

The Rangers—and Houston Astros as well—still remain unaffected by the Governor's executive order. According to paragraph two, professional sporting events are still permitted to host spectators at 50 percent capacity. 

Even so, there are multiple hurdles that stand in the way of fans attending games next month. COVID-19 cases could force Governor Abbott to scale back on more regulations. Major League Baseball also doesn't appear to be too interested in hosting fans at the outset of the season, even in states that permit it.

“I think we need to get on the ground running and get comfortable that we can play games in empty stadiums safely before we move forward with fans,” Manfred said in an interview with the Associated Press. “My patience in that regard is in part based on the fact that there are so many different situations. Some places there looks like there’s no prospect, other places they’re more aggressive. I think we need to be patient and even where we have the option, we need to make sure that we know exactly what we’re doing before we jump into it.”

With a baseball season now in place, the Rangers have been discussing ways to safely host fans for games at Globe Life Field. On one hand, it could be a huge benefit to Major League Baseball and other sports leagues. The Rangers could help develop a blueprint for how to host fans safely during sporting events. On the other hand, Texas is currently a major hot spot in the country. It may be not only be prudent to put any plans on hold, but it might be necessary.

As the state has gone through its reopening phases, the Rangers have complied with regulations set by local and state governments, as well as from the CDC. They've created ways to host events with strict health and safety protocols like the Concert In Your Car series, First Look Tours, and over 50 high school graduations.

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