Durham businesses hope vaccinations lead to return to normalcy as Bulls opening day approaches

North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Just about everyone wants to get back to normal life — hugging people, attending sporting events, and going on vacation. To do that, more people need to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Triangle businesses are hoping people will.

Opening day at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is less than a month away. They haven’t had a game since September 2019.

“We’ll have pod seating, which most folks are probably already used to. You’ll have to wear your mask unless you’re actively eating or drinking at your ticketed location,” said Scott Strictland, the Assistant General Manager of Operations.

And they’re only allowing 2,800 people in. That’s about a quarter of the stadium’s capacity. Still, there’s a lot of excitement.

“You can see comments of, ‘I just got vaccinated and one of the reasons why I did it is so I could get to the DBAP,’ and we saw that in our seasonal staff and our full-time staff,” Strictland said.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said about 33 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated. In Durham County, it’s about 28 percent. It needs to be much higher to get back to normal, meaning a full stadium or more people taking a game in next door at Tobacco Road.

“Previous years, we would have people come in before the game and another rush after the game, so we’re hoping that rush will still get here,” said Jasmine Chapman, a manager and server at Tobacco Road.

Chapman said about 80 percent of the staff is vaccinated.

And to those who are hesitant, this nursing student had a message.

“It’s education, making sure that you’re educated and making sure you get your questions answer,” Chapman said.

Opening day for the Durham Bull is May 11.

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