DETROIT (WXYZ) — Tigers fans are eagerly awaiting Opening Day at Comerica Park after a year of strict closures due to the pandemic. It's the first time fans will get to enter the stands since the 2019 season, but what will be different and how is Comerica preparing for the big day on April 1?
Chris Granger, group president, sports and entertainment at Ilitch Holdings is featured in today's 7 UpFront segment to discuss final preparations for Comerica Park ahead of Opening Day.
"Without a doubt, it's been such a difficult year for so many people on every level," Granger said. "And we're happy and we're excited and we're humbled to finally have the chance to do what we do for the community and to help inspire people and to help unite people, and really to help people have some more hope and have some more sense of normalcy after what's really been a difficult time."
Granger says that on Opening Day, everything they are doing is through the lens of safety to ensure all fans feel safe and comfortable, even throughout the entire season.
He said that fans should expect to wear masks unless they're eating or drinking in your seat. Seating is set up in pods, so fans will be in pods of either two, four or six people, and those pods will be no closer than 6 feet away from other pods.
Additionally, to ensure that there is minimal direct contact, there will be digital ticketing and cashless transactions.
There will be 20% capacity in the stands, which will look like roughly 8,000 fans spread across 42,000 seats.
In a news conference Tuesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he wants the same cautious approach outside of the park as well.
"What we don't have the room for is a lot of other people to be coming down and tailgating," he said. "So the capacity limits on bars and restaurants will be strictly enforced."
Granger said interest has been strong, especially for the first Opening Day since 2019, and safety precautions will be plentiful. Fans and even employees of the company are looking forward to a reunion of the Tiger family.
"We still understand that we're putting on a show each and every game, each and every event," Granger said. "We still understand that although it's not a full stadium, we still have a role to play in bringing a smile to people's faces. So, whether you're coming on Opening Day or game number seven, or game number 77 – look forward to a great experience because we're taking it very seriously, and again, we're humbled to finally have the chance to make people smile again."