Thousands of Texas Rangers fans were seen arriving at Arlington’s Globe Life Field stadium to attend the team’s home opener on Monday, the first major US pro sports event to approach stadium capacity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announced attendance for the Rangers’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays was 38,238, a mere couple thousand short of the stadium’s capacity of 40,518.
Rangers fan were seen barbecuing and gathering near the stadium ahead of the game, with many appearing not to be wearing a mask, which is no longer mandated in the state of Texas.
“I don’t think we’re stupid or irresponsible, I think we’re trying to enjoy ourselves, we are trying to make the best with what we’ve got right now,” said Rangers fan Carlos Morales.
“We’re gonna do what we’re gonna do and we’re gonna continue to live life. We’re kind of over all the restrictions,” said Rangers fan Robert Kenton.
On March 31, US President Joe Biden called the Rangers’ decision to host a full stadium to kick off the season “a mistake” during an interview with ESPN.
The Blue Jays went on to beat the Rangers 6-2 in Monday’s game.
Business began operating at full capacity in Texas on March 10, after governor Greg Abbott announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The seven-day average of new daily cases in Texas has diminished from 7,693 to 3,667 between March 1 and April 1, according to the state’s health department.
Texas has recorded 2,802,562 virus cases and 48,851 related deaths to-date, according the state’s Health and Human Services.