A small step for man, a huge leap for tail shoes.
The Milwaukee Brewers announced Wednesday morning that fans attending games at American Family Field will once again be allowed to backtrack in the parking lots in advance, beginning with the next home game Monday night against the Chicago Cubs.
During the opening series against the Minnesota Twins, tailgating was banned by the Milwaukee Health Department as a precautionary measure to keep people socially alienated during the COVID-1
Participation will continue to be limited to 25% capacity in American Family Field, but fans can now fire up their grill in advance, another step forward with what has been a long time coming to participate in Brewers games.
More: What fans can expect for Brewers games at American Family Field, including COVID-19 safety precautions, cashless cash, tailgating
“Tailgating is a Wisconsin tradition. That’s how we begin our day at the ballpark,” said Brewers president of baseball operations Rick Schlesinger. “We’ve been in regular contact with the Milwaukee Health Department and the opening series was operationally sound. With safety protocols and our fans’ diligence, we are now able to bring tailgating back to them within a seat.
“We appreciate the patience of the fans as we take another step in our efforts to provide the best fan experience in sports.”
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Brewers gave a touch of news earlier in the morning with a social media post featuring Johnsonville Famous Racing Sausages:
Tailgating is allowed on individual vehicles for those sitting in the same seat. Fans must remain in the immediate vicinity of their vehicle. Parking gates open three hours before the game, except for the 18:40 weekday game, where gates open 2 hours in advance.
For more information, fans should visit brewers.com/tailgating.
“One of the priorities of our organization was to try to bring a sense of normalcy back to our gaming experience,” Schlesinger said. “Brewing games without tailgating felt like something was wrong in the universe.
“So we’re very happy that our Health Commissioner, Kirsten Johnson, and her team took all our phone calls and agreed that we could have backcutting back with the important warning that people should back up in their seats, which means their group of two, four or six coming to the game.
“Again, our goal for the season is to get complete normalcy and return to full fans and full tailgating and the whole great Brewers experience. But this is a step in the right direction. I want to say about all the problems we’ve had with our fans to participate in games and protocols this has been topic # 1. We are excited to fulfill our promise to bring tailgating back. “
As for how the tail-gating protocols for staying in your lane will be enforced, Schlesinger said, “We know the next day or so about parking. Right now, we’ve parked people side by side in the parking lots. If we need to parking people everywhere, it is certainly easy to do logistically.With the reduced capacity, it is not a problem to do so if it is a requirement.
“As far as enforcement is concerned, it really is not that difficult. We have parking guards and security for all games. I think our fans largely respect the rules and protocols. Their behavior on the first home run reflects to me that they want to do the right thing. They want to ensure that their gaming experience does not adversely affect others.
“They understand that if they abide by the rules, it helps convince everyone to ease these restrictions. So I’m not worried. We kindly remind people that they need to stay within their group. I fully expect, that our fans understand it and follow the rules. Everyone wants to have a great experience at the ballpark. If they have to be reminded of that, we will do it. “
Brewers previously announced an updated seating plan for more seating for two people, much in demand by fans. Tickets can be purchased at brewers.com, (800) 933-7890 or at the American Family Field box office. All online and phone purchases are delivered digitally via the MLB app, which gives fans access to download their game tickets, parking cards, order concessions and access to numerous other game information.
Adapted to local health and safety protocols, fans are encouraged to review the guidelines developed at brewers.com/COVID. Tickets are currently on sale for play until May 2nd. The availability of individual tickets for games scheduled for May 11 and above will be announced next week, and Schlesinger said he hopes capacity will increase in the future.
“The combination of multiple two-person bellows and tailgating makes this a much more enjoyable and desirable experience,” said Schlesinger, who was pleased that Johnson attended a game Sunday to see how protocols worked.
“We’ve had good results with our ticket purchases. We have tickets available for next week’s games. The Dodgers series later this month are approaching the point where we just do not have much stock.
“Based on the trend we’re seeing in sales, I feel comfortable saying that every game in April will be sold out. The different pod configurations mean that every game will have a slightly different attendance figure in this unusual environment. But tickets are highly coveted.We are grateful that we can do some of these things.
“We are looking at timelines for when we will sell tickets for games after May 2. It will happen sometime this month. We need to work and see if we can get an increase in our percentage capacity and loosen other restrictions. It is definitely a goal. We understand that the situation is fluid. “
Brewery manager Craig Counsell is obviously a little too busy before games to attend tailgating, but he grew up in the Milwaukee area, still lives here and fully understands its importance to fans as part of their ballpark experience.
“It’s another sign of normalcy,” Counsell said. “It also feels like a safe activity. And it also feels like part of the summer. It’s almost symbolic as much as anything for our state and for everyone around.
“People get vaccinated, we do a good job of taking care of each other, and things like this that we feel are part of our summers that were not last year are coming back.”