NBA and MLB incentivize players to drop COVID-19 by pledging to drop mask requirements

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Neither NBA nor Major League Baseball players will be required to get the COVID-19 shot, but teams with an 85 percent vaccination rate can waive mask requirements, social distance regulations, and other inconveniences of the pandemic.

NBA and MLB players have been encouraged to get vaccinated in recent memos with specific incentives to do so.

For example, MLB will drop mask requirements in the bullpens and dugouts for teams with 85 percent vaccination coverage, DailyMail.com has confirmed.

In its memo, obtained by DailyMail.com, the NBA promised to give vaccinated players from qualifying teams the opportunity to drop mask requirements on practice facilities. In addition, injected players on teams with an 85 percent vaccination rate are allowed to eat indoors or outdoors in restaurants, as local rules allow, eat on flights, and leave the team’s hotel for road trips. They can even schedule more flexible test times.

Jonathan Villar # 1 and Jose Martinez # 16 of the New York Mets return to the clubhouse wearing masks during Spring Training that came to Jupiter, Florida on March 1.

Jonathan Villar # 1 and Jose Martinez # 16 of the New York Mets return to the clubhouse wearing masks during Spring Training that came to Jupiter, Florida on March 1.

Bradley Beal # 3 (L) and Rui Hachimura # 8 of the Washington Wizards watch from the bench during the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Capital One Arena on March 17

Bradley Beal # 3 (L) and Rui Hachimura # 8 of the Washington Wizards watch from the bench during the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Capital One Arena on March 17

Bradley Beal # 3 (L) and Rui Hachimura # 8 of the Washington Wizards watch from the bench during the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Capital One Arena on March 17

A three-page memorandum from MLB and the players association sent to players and staff on Monday and transferred to DailyMail.com stated that “ all players and staff are strongly encouraged to take one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. when they qualify. ‘

The Associated Press first reported MLB’s memo.

For the purposes of this memo, individuals are considered to be “ fully vaccinated ” two weeks after receiving their second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after their first dose of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), ‘the memo read.

Not many players have been vaccinated, according to MLB, but it expects the pace to pick up after teams return to their home cities after spring practice. The opening day is Thursday.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros said on Monday that their players will receive vaccines before the openers, and the San Francisco Giants said some of their players had already received vaccinations.

MLB’s Tier 1 restrictions in effect since last summer include players, managers, coaches, bullpen catchers, team doctors, track and field trainers, physical therapists, and strength and conditioning coaches.

Fans attend the spring training match between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at The Palm Beaches' FITTEAM Ballpark on March 19

Fans attend the spring training match between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at The Palm Beaches' FITTEAM Ballpark on March 19

Fans attend the spring training match between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at The Palm Beaches’ FITTEAM Ballpark on March 19

While clubhouse video rules would relax before and after games, in-game use remains covered by rules restricting in-game use to MLB-issued iPads with blocked catcher signals, rules put in place in response to the Houston Astros drawing-stealing scandal.

Once the 85 percent threshold is reached, fully vaccinated players and flight personnel can eat and drink. They could gather in indoor areas such as hotels with no masks or social distance as long as unvaccinated people are not present, and they could carpool or use Uber or Lyft. The relaxation would not apply to gatherings in group facilities at ballparks, such as clubhouses.

Fully vaccinated people who are in close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to be quarantined unless they show symptoms.

Vaccinated players and staff would have the option of reducing PCR saliva testing to twice a week, similar to Tier 2 personnel, such as front office and clubhouse workers, owners, and grounds administrators.

Family members who have been fully vaccinated and children who have not been vaccinated could stay with players and staff in hotel rooms during road trips, although MLB and the union warned that the Centers for Disease Control advised against taking commercial travel and staying at home. unless needed. Families could also sit anywhere in baseball fields and not be limited to pods, depending on local laws and policies.

The Sacramento Kings bank responds to a shot against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Capital One Arena on March 17

The Sacramento Kings bank responds to a shot against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Capital One Arena on March 17

The Sacramento Kings bank responds to a shot against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Capital One Arena on March 17

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the All-Star Game earlier this month that changes are on the way for those who choose to get the vaccine

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the All-Star Game earlier this month that changes are on the way for those who choose to get the vaccine

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the All-Star Game earlier this month that changes are on the way for those who choose to get the vaccine

No one in the NBA is considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving the last vaccine dose.

Once that happens, the rules will change for some of those individuals, the NBA said in a memo sent to teams on Thursday early Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press. Daily point-of-care tests are not required for players or head coaches before entering team facilities, nor will tests still be required on days off.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the All-Star Game earlier this month that changes are in the offing for those who choose to get the vaccine.

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse could lose the mask if his team can get more than 85 percent of its players vaccinated

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse could lose the mask if his team can get more than 85 percent of its players vaccinated

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse could lose the mask if his team can get more than 85 percent of its players vaccinated

“Right now, we’re working under this so-called work quarantine protocol, where players mostly go between their home and the arenas alone,” said Silver. Once they are vaccinated, they can do more in their community. We have already discussed this with the players association. So there will be some real benefits and advantages of getting vaccinated for the players. ‘

The contact tracking part of the new rules will be a big advantage. Being flagged by contact tracking has been a problem for many players this season, including Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, who both missed the All-Star Game and the start of the second half of the season because they visited a hairdresser. tested positive – but they didn’t. Had they been fully vaccinated, they wouldn’t have missed any time, even after being around someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Other benefits for those vaccinated, the league said, include the ability to allow other family members and friends to visit their homes without having to test; can receive visitors in the team hotel during road trips; eating out in restaurants, at home or on the go; and be able to commute to and from team facilities with other fully vaccinated individuals.

And when 85 percent of a team’s staff are vaccinated, those who received the shots don’t need to wear a face mask in their team’s practice area, can eat inside or outside in restaurants as local rules allow, eat on flights , the team leave the hotel more freely on road trips and schedule more user-friendly test times.

Members of the Houston Astros watch from the dugout as New York Mets-pitcher Jerry Blevins prepares to pitch in the fifth inning of a show jumping training baseball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida

Members of the Houston Astros watch from the dugout as New York Mets-pitcher Jerry Blevins prepares to pitch in the fifth inning of a show jumping training baseball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida

Members of the Houston Astros watch from the dugout as New York Mets-pitcher Jerry Blevins prepares to pitch in the fifth inning of a show jumping training baseball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida