COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — Thursday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that on June 1 the capacity limits for outdoor gatherings will be lifted.
It’s an announcement the West Michigan Whitecaps have been waiting for for a long time.
“Obviously last year was hard for everybody. We didn’t have a season here. The community missed it. We all missed it,” said Community Relations Manager Jenny Garone during an interview with FOX 17 on Thursday afternoon. “So, being able to actually open the gates again and welcome fans back is fantastic, even when it was at a limited capacity. Now that we’re able to open up 100 percent, we could not be more thrilled.”
RELATED: Whitmer encourages Michiganders on the fence to get vaccinated in wake of loosened restrictions
Because of Whitmer’s announcement, the team has decided to sell tickets for all outdoor seating for July, August and September.
Whitmer also announced that on June 1, capacity limits for indoor gatherings will increase to 50 percent. However, a month later, on July 1, the indoor restrictions will be lifted completely.
“We’re really excited about the announcement. This is something that we’ve been working toward for a long time,” said Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. “The chamber has been advocating really hard to get specific dates that we will be able to open at different capacities just so that business can plan and individuals can plan.”
Now, they can, especially wedding venues, he said. The chamber works with 2,500 businesses, and all were hit hard during the pandemic and many had to let people go. So, getting the news about the capacity limits was a “big relief.”
“A lot of these larger gatherings, they’re not something that you do in the spur of the moment. It’s something that you plan for months and years,” Baker said via Zoom. “[The announcement] gives them some assurances that they have business coming in, that they can have a team in place to deal with it, you know—order supplies, all the things that it takes to make it a successful event.”
According to FOX 2 in Detroit, curfews for bars and restaurants will be lifting as well come June 1.
As for the Whitecaps, Garone said they’ll be grateful to have a packed house once again. It’s something they haven’t seen in over a year.
“Oh my gosh. It could not feel better,” Garone said with a smile. “We’re so excited, and the fans are so excited too. We’ve had six homes games so far. Great crowds. We’ve sold out five of those six games. We can’t wait to welcome more of the community into the ballpark.”
RELATED: COVID-19 booster shot likely needed this fall