- The Texas Rangers hosted the Toronto Blue Jays Monday with nearly 40,000 fans in attendance.
- Texas Gov. Abbott lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in early March, making the game's attendance possible.
- Nearly 48,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the state of Texas since last year.
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Photos from the Texas Rangers' opening game against the Toronto Blue Jays look almost otherworldly.
The Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, was packed to near capacity at Monday's game, with 38,238 fans in attendance, a total that was announced as a sellout for the stadium's 40,300-seat capacity, according to The New York Times.
The game marked the largest American sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic began more than a year ago. Though fans were allowed at the Daytona 500 and the Super Bowl both in February, those events offered only partial capacity, allowing for social distancing between attendees.
But photos from Monday's game depict packed crowds in both lines and seats, with little room to social distance, and masks appear to be worn haphazardly.
Monday's large crowd became possible after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted Texas' COVID-19 restrictions in early March, opening the state at 100% capacity and repealing the state mask mandate. Major League Baseball still requires all fans over the age of two to wear masks while attending games.
Abbott relaxed guidelines amid an uptick of COVID-19 cases and against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warnings. Other states are allowing fans to return to stadiums, but often at lowered capacity.
According to the state health department, 47,749 Texans have died of COVID-19 – nearly 8,000 more than Globe Life Field's total capacity.