“We’re back!” The Eau Claire Express announce their return for 2021 season
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A social media post on Wednesday morning by the Eau Claire Express announced that the team would return to competition for the 2021 season.
After missing the entire 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Express will return to play May 31st at Carson Park, where they will face the Rochester Honkers.
“Over the past six months, we have been working closely with the City of Eau Claire and the [Eau Claire City-County] Health Department to make this a reality,” said Jacob Servais, General Manager of the Eau Claire Express.
COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as attendance limits, sanitization, and social distancing, will be part of the new game day experience, Servais confirmed. Masks will also be ‘strongly’ recommended when moving around Carson Park.
“We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for all of those in attendance this season,” said Servais.
“Our hope is that our newly-added precautions do not affect the game day visit, but ultimately enhance the overall fan experience at Carson Park.”
The ECCCHD published a document in January for community expectations for public gatherings, recommending that the gathering sizes for events be reduced to 50% capacity. The recommendations include implementation of social distancing, face coverings, sanitization, and other safety measures, such as checking staff for symptoms of COVID-19 and discouraging the sharing of food or beverages between members of different households.
Eau Claire was one of three teams that did not compete in the 2020 Northwoods League season. The Madison Mallards, who regularly lead the Northwoods League in fan attendance, did not take the field in 2020 due to mass gathering restrictions in Dane County. The league’s only team in Canada, the Thunder Bay Border Cats, did not operate in 2020 due to international border-crossing restrictions and measures related to the pandemic, and will also not compete in 2021 for the same reasons.
In addition to the home opener, another highlight on the home slate of games for the Express includes a July 4 game at Carson Park, where the Express will face the Willmar Stingers. Traditionally, the Express hold a fireworks event following their July 4th games at Carson Park. The promotional schedule has not yet been announced by the team.
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