Major League Baseball will relax its COVID-19 social distancing policies for teams that have vaccinated large percentages of their personnel.
When 85% of a team’s players and support staff receive COVID-19 vaccines, that team will no longer have to abide by most social distancing rules, USA Today reported. Players and employees of the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals will receive their first vaccines Monday night.
The #Astros are getting their vaccinations tonight in Houston and the #STLCards are hoping to get their shots tonight in Cincinnati. Once vaccinated, particularly those teams who have at least 85% of their Tier 1 players vaccinated, the protocols are expected to be relaxed.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 29, 2021
Once vaccinated, players will be allowed to use clubhouse saunas and whirlpools, and will be allowed to host their families on road trips. In addition, they will no longer be required to wear masks inside hotels, dugouts, bullpens, and weight rooms. Players will still be required to wear masks in clubhouses and training rooms, however. (RELATED: MLB Players, Personnel To Wear Electronic Contact Tracers Due To Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic)
Major League Baseball played a shortened season in 2020 after owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association struggled to agree on a health and safety plan. Many players opted out of playing entirely due to familial obligations or high personal risk of infection.
Local authorities are using eleven stadiums as mass vaccination sites, six of which will continue to host vaccination drives after the season begins, the Associated Press reported.
“I commend the clubs that have hosted vaccination and testing at their ballparks and all of our franchises for promoting health and safety in our communities. Most importantly, MLB is grateful to the countless heroes who are lifting up our society and helping us reach the better days ahead,” commissioner Rob Manfred said.