Mariners detail how they plan to keep their ballpark safe from COVID-19
With the full Mariners squad due to begin reporting Wednesday to T-Mobile Park for the start of Summer Camp and the first workout scheduled for Friday, the Mariners have announced their operations plan for the ballpark giving us a look at how they will attempt to keep the coronavirus at bay in 2020.
The Mariners’ plan is in addition to the plan detailed by MLB and the MLBPA in the return to play agreement. Research and preparations have been underway for some time now with the first consultations beginning before spring training was shut down, prompted by the need to move the opening series due to the coronavirus outbreak in the Seattle area at the time.
The Return to Play Safety plan includes:
• Limits on the number of employees, staff and players allowed at the ballpark at any given time.
• Mandatory health screenings for everyone who enters the ballpark.
• Enhanced cleaning protocols that utilize the latest technology to target suspected or known presence of COVID-19.
• A designated Infection Control/Prevention Coordinator to ensure compliance with all health and safety protocols.
Access to the ballpark will be limited with the majority of Mariners employees continuing to work from home. Those who are allowed into the park will be assigned to different tier levels with players, coaches, physicians, trainers and umpires designated as Tier 1, other essential personnel including some members of baseball operations as Tier 2, and all other necessary workers and media members Tier 3.
On-field personnel will undergo testing every other day in compliance with the MLB/MLBPA’s health and safety protocols. Tier 2 individuals will be subject to frequent testing. Everyone seeking to enter the park will be screened before entering, required to answer a questionnaire and have a contactless temperature check.
Social distancing will be required throughout the park and face coverings worn at all times by everyone. Players are exempt only while on the field or involved in workouts, batting practice or strength and conditioning exercises. Numerous hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the building including the dugouts and bullpens. Seats behind the dugouts have been tarped off with seats left uncovered at appropriate distances for players who are not expected to play to sit during games.The ballpark has and will continue to undergo enhanced cleaning which will include:
• Daily cleaning and disinfection of the entire facility, with particular attention paid to high traffic touch points such as handles, common areas, elevators and restrooms.
• Use of electrostatic sprayers to apply an electrically charged, broad spectrum disinfecting solution that is formulated to target suspected or known presence of COVID-19 but is non-toxic to humans.
• Installation of an ionized air purification system in clubhouses and other indoor spaces used by players and on-field personnel, trainers and clubhouse staff. The system reduces outdoor air intake and kills pathogens.
• Use of UV-C light to eliminate the threat of bacteria, viruses, mold spores and allergy-inducing microorganisms found on everyday items.
The ballpark is ready and the testing protocols are in place. The last item each player will need to undergo before beginning Summer Camp is to complete an education program with recommended best practices for reducing the risk of infection with COVID-19. While so much has been taken on by the teams, so much will come down to what the individuals do away from the field. That is a message that no doubt will need to be reinforced throughout the 2020 season.