MLB loosens COVID restrictions, drops masks for vaccinated

Jun 17, 2021, 3:31 AM | Updated: 3:43 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — All fully vaccinated players and staff can stop wearing masks in dugouts, bullpens and clubhouses under the latest change to Major League Baseball’s coronavirus protocols.

In addition, fully vaccinated players and staff may eat in restaurants without restrictions and attend sporting events as spectators at venues with government approved safety protocols, the commissioner’s office and players’ association said in a memo sent Wednesday night.

Kinexon electronic tracing devices and monitor testing are being eliminated, and compliance officers no longer have to accompany teams on trips.

Social distancing and mask requirements have been eliminated for team busses involving fully vaccinated players and staff, and players and staff can resume arriving at clubhouses more than five hours before game time.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated players and staff still must wear masks but it will not be considered a violation to remove or pull down the mask to briefly eat or drink, before entering or leaving a shower or at the direction of the medical or training staff.

Clubhouse social distancing was eliminated for all teams reaching 85% vaccination among tier 1 individuals such as players, managers, coaches and training staff. As of last Friday, 22 of the 30 teams had reached 85% among tier 1 individuals.

Restrictions on team individuals dining together also were eliminated, with the exception that non-vaccinated individuals must still wear masks when not eating or drinking.

Fully vaccinated players and staff also can resume commercial travel without PCR intake testing when they rejoin the team, unless they show COVID-19 symptoms or are known to have been exposed. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated family may stay with fully vaccinated players and staff on the road, and players and staff can use hotel pools and fitness centers, with provisions that masks are required in fitness centers if they are open to the public and that physical distancing is required in pools.

The five-day quarantine was eliminated for free agents and players selected to a team’s 40-man roster who were not in the COVID testing program previously.

The Seattle Mariners said Thursday they will return to 100% capacity at T-Mobile Park on July 2, the 29th of the 30 teams to return to full capacity.

Only Texas began this season at 100% after fans weren’t permitted during the shortened 2020 regular season because of the coronavirus.

Others announcing the move to full capacity in-season have been Atlanta (May 7), Arizona (May 25), Boston (May 29), Kansas City (May 31), Baltimore (June 1), Cincinnati and Cleveland (June 2). Philadelphia (June 4), Detroit (June 8), the Chicago Cubs and Washington (June 11), Philadelphia (June 12), St. Louis (June 14), the Los Angeles Dodgers (June 16). the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego (June 17), the New York Yankees (June 18), the New York Mets (June 21), the Chicago White Sox, Houston, Milwaukee and San Francisco (June 25), Colorado (June 28), Oakland (June 29), Pittsburgh (July 1) and Minnesota and Tampa Bay (July 5).

Only Toronto will not be back to normal capacity. The Blue Jays have not played in Toronto since 2019 due to Canadian government coronavirus restrictions. They played last season at their Triple-A affiliate’s ballpark in Buffalo, New York, going 17-9, then started their season 10-11 at their spring training stadium in Dunedin, Florida, through May 24 before switching back to Buffalo this month. They will play home games in Buffalo through at least July 21.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

head coach Gregg Berhalter of the United States and Tyler Adams attend a press conference on the ev...
Associated Press

World Cup Viewer’s Guide: US and Iran pulled into politics

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The American and Iranian soccer teams are the only ones putting politics aside as the sides meet in a match to determine if either nation continues in this World Cup. The two met at the 1998 World Cup in France when memories of the 1979 Islamic Revolution were still fresh for […]
1 day ago
Wales' Gareth Bale reacts during the World Cup group B soccer match between Wales and Iran, at the ...
Associated Press

Could World Cup be Bale’s goodbye to the global stage?

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — With Wales on the verge of World Cup elimination, Gareth Bale was dismissive when asked if Tuesday’s game against England could be the last for his country. “Nope,” was his one-word answer. He chose not to elaborate. While questions hang over Bale’s long-term future, Wales’ concerns are more immediate. If Wales […]
1 day ago
UConn forward Lou Lopez-Senechal (11) and guard Nika Muhl celebrate winning the championship over I...
Associated Press

South Carolina tops women’s AP Top 25; Stanford, UConn next

South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 choice in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll released Monday as the Gamecocks keep close watch on the foot injury of reigning Player of the Year Aliyah Boston. The Gamecocks received all 29 first-place votes in the poll released Monday, a day after Boston left a game with […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Casemiro celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the World Cu...
Associated Press

Brazil advances at World Cup, beats Switzerland 1-0

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Brazil struggled without Neymar at the World Cup on Monday. Still, the five-time champions played well enough to secure a spot in the next stage. Brazil overcame the absence of its injured star to beat Switzerland 1-0 and make it to the round of 16 with a match to spare in […]
1 day ago
Lights of the stadium are off during the World Cup group G soccer match between Brazil and Switzerl...
Associated Press

Stadium lights dim at Brazil-Switzerland World Cup game

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The lights at Stadium 974 briefly dimmed dramatically just before halftime Monday during a World Cup match between Brazil and Switzerland. Brazil was about to take a corner when the lights at the temporary stadium dimmed enough that the play stopped. The full lights came back on within seconds and play […]
1 day ago
Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson watches during an NCAA college basketball game against Kent State...
Associated Press

Houston reaches No. 1 in AP poll for first time since 1983

Make some room, Phi Slama Jama. Another Houston team has reached the top of men’s college basketball. Nearly four decades after Clyde Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon took the Cougars to No. 1, the latest bunch led by Marcus Sasser and star freshman Jarace Walker took over the top spot in the AP Top 25 on […]
1 day ago
MLB loosens COVID restrictions, drops masks for vaccinated