LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing Lugnuts and fans are celebrating the latest step in the state’s ‘Vacc to Normal’ plan.
Tuesday night, the Lugnuts welcomed back fans to Jackson Field at full capacity for the first time in two years.
“When the announcement was made that we could come back to full capacity in June there was such a feeling of increased energy because i think that we’re all searching for whatever that normal is to get back to,” the Lugnuts radio broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler said.
As of Tuesday, outdoor capacity limits and the 11 p.m. curfew have been lifted across the state, and restaurants and bars can operate at 50 percent capacity.
Kale Dipert of Nashville, Michigan has been traveling to different minor league ballparks for 30 years collecting player autographs as they enter the stadium. When the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the coronavirus, Dipert worried he might not get the chance to keep his tradition alive.
“We had a long summer without baseball it’s really exciting to be back,” Dipert said.
Greg Kigar is the assistant general manager of operations and special events for Jackson Field. He and his staff are working to keep the ballpark safe as more people return.
“Some people are ready to come back like it was two years ago and some people are a little hesitant to do that so I think everyone is going to be patient with each other,” Kigar said.
Nearly 60 percent of Michiganders 16 and older have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov Gretchen Whitmer's Vacc to Normal plan says all pandemic restrictions will be lifted once we reach a 70 percent vaccination rate, though Whitmer has said she hopes to lift most restrictions by July 1.
In our own neighborhoods, vaccination rates are slowly inching toward the 70 percent goal of herd immunity. As of Wednesday, Clinton County leads the way with 51.7 percent of eligible residents fully vaccinated, followed by Eaton County with 48.7 percent. Ingham County is one percentage point behind with 47.7 percent. Jackson County shows 44.8 percent of residents fully vaccinated.
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