Only designated stations near venues will remain open. Other stations will allow riders to exit only after their ride home. Metro said anyone who is at a designated station within a half-hour after a game will be allowed to ride, with no customers left behind.
The arrangement is the same one Metro ran in 2019, when the Washington Nationals won the World Series. During its run, the team hosted nighttime playoff and championship games to accommodate national television audiences.
“Metro is proud to be a part of this community, and we are excited to welcome back fans and workers who support our home teams,” Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a statement. “We welcome them to ride Metro on game day with the assurance that Metro will be there for them on the ride home.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, cities, professional sports franchises and leagues have restricted the number of fans allowed in venues to limit the spread of the virus. The District eased restrictions on sporting events in April and now allow Nationals Park and Audi Field to host a quarter of their capacities. Capital One Arena and Entertainment and Sports Arena, where the Washington Mystics play, are limited to 10 percent of capacity.
The Nationals, which started the season with no more than 5,000 fans, now allow 10,000 fans in its more than 40,000-seat Navy Yard stadium. The Washington Wizards and Capitals can host about 2,100 people at Capital One Arena, while the Entertainment and Sports Arena allows about 450 spectators. The Washington Football Team, which plays at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., remains months away from the start of its season, but the franchise is hosting an NFL Draft party on Thursday at the 82,000-seat venue. Just 3,000 fans will be allowed to attend, according to the team.
While restrictions are expected to ease to allow for more fans in coming months as the region’s vaccination rates increase, Metro officials said they will continue to promote social distancing onboard trains and run extra trains on game days as necessary.
“As we have done historically after games, additional trains are provided to support boarding at platforms every few minutes to ensure that fans and workers who choose Metro can get safely home,” Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly said. “Extra trains will be available as needed so customers can connect to their final destinations.”
Since sporting events started allowing fans to attend, Ly said, Metro has not had any issues accommodating passengers.
“Riders should use their best judgment about which car to board to maintain proper distance,” Ly said.
Metro is running at about 75 percent of its pre-pandemic service. Transit officials have said they continue to limit service until more passengers return to the rail system, which currently carries about 100,000 passengers on weekdays compared with an average of 626,000 before the pandemic.
The stations that will stay open late for late-ending games include:
The Navy Yard-Ballpark station for Washington Nationals and D.C. United games. Gallery Place-Chinatown station for Wizards and Capitals games. Congress Heights station for Mystics games, and the Morgan Boulevard station for Washington Football Team games.
Transit officials said passengers will continue to be required to cover their faces at stations and onboard trains, as federal law requires.