MLB issues new coronavirus protocols

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Major League Baseball has received a lot of criticism for two coronavirus outbreaks featuring the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals. Now, the league has announced new protocols, which they hope will stop the spread of the virus.

MLB has mandated that all players and staff wear face coverings at all times. This includes when players are in the dugouts and in the bullpens.

Boston Red Sox player Xander Bogaerts celebrates with his teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run against the New York Yankees
Xander Bogaerts celebrates with his teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run against the New York Yankees (Photo by the Associated Press/Kathy Willens)

However, it does not include when players are in the field.

MLB sent their teams this new mandate on Wednesday that will take place for the rest of the season. Due to the Marlins and Cardinals outbreaks, there was 21 postponements in the first two weeks of the season, according to the Associated Press.

If teams or players refuse to follow these new protocols, there will be a potential ban for the rest of the season and postseason. Before this mandate, players around the country on teams refused to wear face masks, while they also gave other players high-fives, spit and violated other protocols, the AP reported.

Now, umpires — who were not wearing face masks at all times — must do so under this new mandate by the league. However, there is a stipulation for the umpires, as they do not have to wear a face covering when ‘it would make it unfeasible for them to do their jobs.’

The previously appointed compliance officers for each team will enforce these new protocols from the league. This mandate will attempt to keep the spread from dismantling their season that MLB hopes will run through October.

In addition, besides in the dugouts and in the bullpens, players, along with the staff of these teams, are also now required to wear face coverings while they are at the team hotels and in public places on the road. This includes during bus rides or team flights.

MLB insists that the face covering must wear surgical masks or N95/KN95 respirators.

The AP reports that when teams are at these hotels, the team must use a large private room — like a ballroom — where staff and players can get food and amenities while keeping their distance from one another. However, players, according to the report, are discouraged from talking to their teammates.

In addition, the players are now instructed not to talk to each other face-to-face even if their mask was pulled down while eating.

Plus, if the players want to leave their team hotels, they must now get approval from the compliance officer before potentially leaving.

When teams are at home and living in their residences, whether it be an apartment, home, or condo, players and staff are now banned from visiting bars, lounges, malls, or places, where people would gather.

Each team, especially, as the road team, will now have to provide their players with a space that is outdoors and covered. Both teams, especially during weather delays, will now be asked to have locations, where the players and staff can socially distance from each other.

In fact, MLB wants players to use outdoor spots ‘as much as possible, rather than linger in the clubhouse.’

Teams are now asked to limit their travel parties to just essential personnel only. Each team, if they travel by bus, to ‘maintain unoccupied rows between passengers.’

Also, the teams are asked to distance seating on lines. The mandate also asks that ‘players do not change locations.’

This mandate comes following the Marlins allegedly got their virus infection following a reported incident on July 21st and July 22nd in Atlanta, Georgia. The individual or individuals, who went to the nightclub on the day in question, nearly took out all of their teammates, as 18 players and additional personnel got the virus.

MLB and the MLBPA are also reportedly working together to review contact tracing protocols, including identified close contact. At this time, close contact, like elbow bumps, do not spread the virus.

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