The Bismarck Larks couldn’t predict the curveball that the 2020 season would throw at them due to COVID-19, but now they are preparing to take the field as early as June 15. However, the game will look a lot different for fans.
“This plan really outlines everything from how we enter the ballpark, exit the ballpark, eat food and beverage, do our on field games and the seating capacity,” general manager John Bollinger said.
The Larks smart start plan, which will be fully unveiled next week, has been built with recommendations by medical guidelines as well as other sports leagues around the country.
“We’re not in the guideline business,” Bollinger said. “We’re trying to take all the experts from the North Dakota government, at the local level and at the CDC federal level, take all the best practices and kind of tailor them for how that would look in our ballpark.”
Municipal Ballpark’s capacity will be cut by at least 50% in response to social distancing guidelines. Employees will be also required to wear masks, and while they won’t be mandatory for fans masks will be sold at the stadium.
“Our fans were overwhelmingly comfortable if we have guidelines in place to come, but some aren’t,” Bollinger said. “Some want to see the operation, and that’s okay.”
Bollinger says individual responsibility will be the biggest key to seeing the game go on, and it all starts with the Larks.
“We’re really going to ask them and rely on them, ‘guys this isn’t just because we want you to do this,'” Bollinger said. “This is because if you do this and we do this right we can get a whole season in.”
The Larks hope to have at least one week of practice once the official start date is announced.