Loosened COVID-19 restrictions mean more fans for Pirates, Penguins games

PITTSBURGH — Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that both indoor and outdoor events will be able to hold more people starting April 4, which is good news for Pittsburgh sports fans.

According to Wolf’s order, the maximum capacity for indoor events will move from 15% to 25% regardless of venue size. Outdoor events will be able to hold 50% capacity regardless of size.

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For the Penguins, that means nearly 5,000 fans will be able to watch games inside PPG Paints Arena.

The team issued the following statement regarding the new restrictions, saying the increased capacity will start with the game against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 15:

“Today’s announcement by Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Department of Health, allowing us to increase capacity at PPG Paints Arena to 25 percent as of April 4, is great news for the Penguins and our fans. We are grateful to Governor Wolf, Secretary Beam, County Executive Fitzgerald and Mayor Peduto for their leadership and support. We are coordinating very closely with UPMC on our plan to increase to 25 percent capacity from the current 15 percent, using lessons learned during the first five games.  We are still working out the details of the new order, but our plan is to welcome just under 5,000 fans when the Penguins play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on April 15 -- our first home game after the new guidelines go into effect.”

The Pirates, meanwhile, can now host even more fans at PNC Park beginning on Opening Day if they choose.

PNC Park’s total capacity is about 38,000, so the new guidelines would allow about 19,000 fans. It’s unclear how many fans the Pirates will allow inside to start the season.

The Penguins also told Channel 11 that even after the pandemic is over and things return to “normal,” the contactless changes to the building will remain.

Those “enhancements,” including cashless transactions for food and beverages and merchandise, are permanent.