Taiwan’s pro baseball league to allow 250 fans per game: CECC

A Rakuten Monkeys player pitches in front of empty stands during a home game May 1.

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Sunday that it expects to soon allow a maximum of 250 fans attend local professional baseball games, which are currently played behind closed-doors due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

According to CECC Deputy Commander Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), the local Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) has proposed allowing a maximum 500 people attend each game, a proposal the CECC is expected to approve as part of measures to gradually loosen restrictions, as Taiwan’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been relatively successful so far.

Deducting players, coaches, cheerleaders of both teams as well as CPBL staffers, referees and broadcasting crew, who are already allowed to attend, a maximum 250 fans will soon be allowed to buy tickets to watch CPBL games, according to Chen.

The maximum attendance cap may soon be expanded if the country continues its success in containing the virus, he added.

Meanwhile, the CPBL said it will hold a round of meetings with representatives of all CPBL teams on May 5 to decide when the 250 fans will be allowed to attend games and flesh out related details of the proposal.

The CPBL held the first game of its 31st season at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on April 12, making it the first, and so far only, professional baseball league in the world to start its season this year.

So far the CPBL has played 28 regular season games behind closed-doors due to the social distancing rules announced in March by the CECC to prevent any further spread of the virus.