COVID-19 is still a pandemic, but you’d never know it today at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
The Texas Rangers became the first major pro sports team in North America to welcome a full-capacity crowd since the start of the pandemic, for their opening day game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has dropped the state’s mask mandate and lifted restrictions on businesses, despite opposition from health experts and US President Joe Biden.
More than 16 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas, a state with a population of about 29 million. Vaccines are now open to everyone in Texas 16 years and older.
On Monday, the state reported 837 new cases of the virus — the first time Texas was under 1,000 cases since June 8 of last year. Three new deaths were also reported.
While the United States’ rapid vaccine rollout has helped matters considerably, the virus is still a serious threat. On Saturday, Dallas County health officials announced 20 COVID-related deaths, including a man in his 20s who didn’t have underlying health conditions.
So this is what a packed ballpark feels like?! Almost forgot. What a sight! pic.twitter.com/L4nz2lc7fi
— Sam Gannon (@SamGannon87) April 5, 2021
The Rangers announced a sellout crowd of 38,238. Despite the team mandating masks for the game, judging from photos, it appears many fans were not wearing them.
Home field advantage didn’t appear to help the Rangers though, as the Blue Jays won 6-2, improving their record to 3-1 this season. Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio had home runs in the victory, while starting pitcher Steven Matz gave up just two hits in six and a third innings to pick up the win.