Cincinnati's slow march toward post-pandemic "normalcy" will take a big step when the Reds celebrate "Re-Opening Day" on June 2.
Opening Day typically is a day of celebration, with a parade, a block party and general merriment throughout the city. But celebratory activities largely were canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. When the Reds took the field on April 1, Hamilton County had 166 new cases of COVID-19, and the seven-day average of cases was approximately 13 per 100,000 — a "very high risk," the New York Times said then.
Fans and businesses still celebrated the return of baseball in April. But with Great American Ballpark operating at 30% capacity, plenty of social distancing protocols in place and even some snow on the ground, activities were a bit muted.
That's slowly but surely changing, though. Earlier this month, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health said the state would lift nearly all coronavirus-related health orders on June 2, reinstating full capacity to venues and events. (Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state continues to recommend that those who have not been fully vaccinated from COVID-19 should continue to wear facial masks, physically distance themselves from others and avoid large crowds so as not to spread the virus. The New York Times reports that unvaccinated individuals are at high risk.)
And now the city is ready for an Opening Day do-over. Community leaders announced Thursday that festivities are being planned for "Re-Opening Day" on June 2 when the Reds welcome the Philadelphia Phillies for a 12:35 p.m. first pitch. In a news release, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Hamilton County Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas proclaimed it a "half-day holiday," encouraging residents to celebrate the team and make up for lost time.
Attractions, businesses and organizations are offering incentives for taking part in the Reds fun. Fans can buy special $5 view-level tickets for the June 2 game through Monday night at reds.com/Bally. The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber, and Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau also will offer their members discount on Reds tickets.
TQL Stadium — home to FC Cincinnati — Duke Energy Convention Center, Tyler Davidson Fountain, Fifth Third Bank Building, and other buildings will be illuminated in red on June 1 and June 2. Fountain Square will stream the June 2 game live atop the Foundry Building. The DORA District at the Banks will open at 11 a.m. on game day.
“No city does Opening Day like Cincinnati! Now that the orders are lifted and summer is almost here, we deserve a Re-Opening Day,” Jill Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, said in a release. “We urge everyone to go to the Reds game on June 2, come downtown and celebrate the future, and honor what we have been through together as a community.”
In Cincinnati's home of Hamilton County, there were 25 new cases of COVID-19, and the seven-day average of cases was approximately 5 per 100,000, as of May 27 data from the New York Times. The Times bills this as "high risk."
Within the county, 46.99% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of May 27. Only 41.21% are fully vaccinated, according to Ohio's COVID-19 dashboard. The CDC says that a “fully vaccinated” person is one who is two weeks past their second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).
Ohioans must be at least 12 years old for the Pfizer vaccine and 18 years old for the Moderna and J&J vaccines. Parental consent is required for minors. Find information and vaccine locations on Ohio's coronavirus portal.