Truist Park’s changes for 2021 include going cashless

The view from Harrah's Cherokee Casinos Back Porch at Truist Park.

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Credit: Atlanta Braves

The view from Harrah's Cherokee Casinos Back Porch at Truist Park.

You won’t be able to use cash to buy a hot dog or a beer at a Braves game this season. Add Truist Park to the growing list of sports venues going cashless.

Cash won’t be accepted inside the stadium for food and beverages, starting with the Braves’ April 9 home opener, and also won’t be accepted at the stadium ticket windows. Payments can be made by credit cards, debit cards or mobile payment services. Machines will be placed in the stadium through which fans can load cash onto prepaid debit cards.

Although cash initially will be accepted for merchandise at Truist Park’s retail shops, that will be phased out, too, over the coming months, according to the Braves.

In March 2019, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Falcons and Atlanta United, became the first major U.S. sports venue to go cashless. That started a trend that has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. State Farm Arena went cashless at the beginning of the current Hawks season.

The Braves, opening their fifth season at Truist Park (formerly SunTrust Park), are joining the trend in an effort to reduce touchpoints and congestion as fans return to the stadium for the first time since October 2019.

Here are some other changes at the ballpark for the 2021 season:

Reduced capacity: The Braves will limit attendance to 33% of Truist Park’s full capacity for the start of the season, meaning about 13,500 fans will be allowed in the 41,000-seat stadium. That will leave space for social distance between pods of occupied seats. The Braves plan to re-evaluate capacity for each homestand as the pandemic evolves through the season. They hope to be at full capacity for the MLB All-Star game July 13 at Truist, but that depends on the virus.

An Atlanta Braves fan looks for his seat before a spring training game March 1, 2021, against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. Fans at Atlanta's Truist Park will have to adhere to mask rules and social distancing during the 2021 season. (Brynn Anderson/AP)

Credit: Brynn Anderson

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Credit: Brynn Anderson

Health and safety protocols: In addition to social distancing, fans will be required to wear masks except when eating or drinking, the Braves said. About 200 hand-sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the stadium. Enhanced stadium cleaning will include “hospital-grade electromagnetic disinfectant,” the Braves said.

Clubs and indoor spaces: The stadium’s premium club areas and other indoor spaces will be open, but the number of fans allowed in them at any given time will be reduced. Modifications will be made to how food is served and to seating arrangements.

Mobile ticketing and ordering: Entry at the stadium gates will be exclusively via mobile tickets. Fans will be able to place mobile orders from their seats via the MLB Ballpark app for express pickup of food and beverages at eight locations. Mobile ordering likely will expand to include more concession stands over the course of the season, the Braves said.

New or redesigned hospitality spaces: Several areas were added or renovated a year ago, but no fans were in attendance for the shortened 2020 season. Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos Back Porch, with a covered private patio, is located just below the main video board. A redesigned Infiniti Club features Mr. B’s Bourbon Bar, named for former Braves owner Bill Bartholomay, who died last year. Chipper’s Corner is a climate-controlled field-level event space.

Bag policy: Fans won’t be allowed to bring bags into Truist Park with the exception of medical bags, diaper bags (if the ticket holder is accompanied by an infant), single-compartment clutches no larger than 5 x 9 inches and clear gallon-sized plastic bags that can contain food from outside the stadium. For fans who arrive with oversized bags, storage will be available outside the third-base gate on a first-come, first-serve basis for a fee of $10 per bag.

New at The Battery Atlanta: ASW Distillery, Fat Tuesday daiquiri bar, Park Bench piano bar and 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar have joined the lineup of the mixed-use development adjacent to Truist Park. New office building Three Ballpark Center, which will house corporate headquarters of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas and Papa John’s, is scheduled to open this summer.