Major League Baseball is dealing with serious cases of COVID-19 outbreaks on St.Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. 33 players of these two teams tested positive on COVID-19. That’s the reason why MLB decided to tighten up restrictions regarding all players, staff, and couch members who violate the rules.
MLB acknowledges that new restrictions and changes in games will become a heavy burden for most baseball teams, and especially players and staff members. At the same time, MBA insists that if teams want to play, they must make every possible step to decrease the chance of infection spreading, The behavior of individuals who cover the symptoms of COVID-19 or coaches who cover the team players infected by COVID_19 will not be tolerated by MLB. The clubs that violate restrictions will face severe financial fines.
MLB also insists that players must understand the seriousness of the pandemic protocols and avoid any reckless activity. In the worst-case scenario, for the constant violation of protocols, players may be prohibited from participation in the 2020 season and postseason. However, MLB will not suspend players without an official warning.
The new protocols of MLB is similar to the general restrictions during the pandemic. The revised protocols include the following statements:
- All players, staff members, and coaches must wear face coverings. The only exception when a player is allowed to be unmasked is on the field.
- Clubs must reduce the number of their traveling parties to a minimum. Only players and essential staff members are allowed to be part of the travel party. A club must certify that a member of the party serves an important role in the team.
- Players and staff are not allowed to meet in hotel rooms, share food, or gather in the small rooms. Clubs must have special large rooms for the team meeting.
- Clubs must provide at least for buses for the team trip. Side-by-side seating is prohibited. The players must have at least one free row between each other. Players also have to wear surgical masks during the trip on the plane. (N95 respirators are also allowed).
- Players, coaches, and staff members are can’t speak to each other while eating on planes or in buses.
- Clubs are required to provide outdoor places for meetings. Moreover, players are encouraged to eat, meet, and play only outdoors.
- Players also prohibited from visiting malls, bars, and lounges with large group gatherings.
- Players who are on quarantine or self-isolation can’t leave their hotel rooms. The MLB Commissioner’s Office can only decide whether a player can leave self-isolation or quarantine zone.
- The constant violators of the new COVID-19 safety protocols may face severe punishment and even be excluded from the season.
The above-mentioned rules are required to follow by all clubs without exception. The MLB hopes to decrease the number of COVID-19 cases amongst the players with the implementation of these new safety protocols. Still, they admit that not everyone will like the new restrictions.