(WXYZ) — Opening Day is one of the biggest events every spring, but this year, the City of Detroit is cracking down on tailgating because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Mike Duggan is sending a strong message for Tigers fans looking to partake, and said fans without a ticket should avoid coming downtown on Thursday. The last thing the city wants is a large crowd gathering during a pandemic.
"The people in the ballpark will be socially distanced and will be safe," Duggan said.
There will be about 8,000 people spaced out over 42,000 seats inside Comerica Park. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is allowing outdoor stadiums to have up to 20% capacity.
In a news conference, 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. so the capacity limits on bars and restaurants will be strictly enforced," Duggan said.
The city said Detroit Police will be on patrol for tailgaters and making sure venues are sticking to guidelines. The state's current indoor capacity is 50% with a 100-person limit.
"If you think it's going to be one of those opening days where everyone fills up the bars and restaurants and nobody enforces, you're wrong," Duggan said. "We will shut down the bars and restaurants. we will fine them and potentially, have their licenses suspended."