ROUND ROCK, TX (KXAN) — Round Rock is hoping to bat above average with large gatherings at the Dell Diamond during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, they’ve successfully hosted a fireworks display and concert this past weekend for the Fourth of July, going as far as to thank attendees for “respecting [their] safety measures.”
Round Rock Express General Manager Chris Almendarez said he thought the weekend went really well.
“One of the things that we… there’s a little bit of a risk doing an event like that, being one of the first ones. But we also felt that it gave people a template of how to do things moving forward in this new world we’re living in with social distancing. The great thing about Dell Diamond is we have, you know, there’s about 11 acres of what you see around here so we got a big area. We can keep safe.”
But this Tuesday, July 7, crowds will be contained to the stadium seats as they watch their new temporary expansion team in the Texas College League, the Round Rock Hairy Men, take the field. There’ll be more masked faces watching with Governor Abbott’s recent July 2 executive order in effect, which cites large gatherings as a “clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.”
Almendarez shared how he feels about hosting the game, including how COVID-19 has impacted their business.
Unfortunately, a month ago we laid off 40% of our staff and so we’re in the business of doing events and the bulk of our revenue is from April to September so when you don’t have those events you gotta look at different ways. This Texas Collegiate League kind of fell in our laps and we talked about it. The great thing we do is really baseball and we knew a lot of kids in the area. My son Luke is actually on the team. He’s a shortstop. Plays for the University of Houston, and I’m comfortable enough to get him out here and we had a protocol with those kids to make sure they’re safe when they come in. We’re doing health screenings, they’re wearing masks and that’s a big part of what this needs to be. I think on the fans’ part too there’s a little bit of social responsibility as well.
It’s the first opening game to be played on the city’s baseball diamond since increased cases in Texas, and this scattered string of 15 home games is about as much local baseball fans will get this year since minor leagues, including the Round Rock Express, canceled their 2020 seasons.
“Look, being outside, I think the fresh air and giving people an opportunity to watch a baseball game with a lot of local kids, I think it’s what we need. It’s a little bit of solace for some folks with what’s going on in the world around us – a chance to kind of come out here and feel a little safe, and that’s what our number one goal is, is keep people safe,” Almendarez said.
What are Dell Diamond’s safety measures?
- Masks required while entering, exiting and moving around the ballpark
- May remove masks when eating, drinking or sitting in their ticketed seat/pod
- Increased frequency and scope of cleaning and sanitizing between events as well as between guests at events
- Added hand sanitizing stations for public and staff in high-traffic areas
- Industrial-grade, mobile sanitization units will be used to disinfect surfaces throughout the stadium prior to, during and after events
- Clear bag policy enforcement
- Temperature checks and health screening submissions for Round Rock Express, hospitality staff, and on-site vendors upon arrival
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) for guest interaction
- Socially distant seating map with removed rows, 6-foot or more groupings and selective seating, along with physical barriers
- Ballpark will operate at 25% capacity or less
- Signage in walkways and concourses
- One-way pedestrian traffic
- Stanchions and spacing markers
- Arrival gate assignments and guided dismissal
- Assigned one-way entrances and exits at restrooms with multiple entrances
- Touchless faucets in all restrooms
- Every other sink and urinal station will be covered
- Limited entry and occupancy at the team store along with one-way entrance and exit
You can learn more about their safety measures by visiting the stadium’s web page dedicated to the topic.