As the Yankees and Mets make their way back to New York from their coronavirus-plagued spring training homes in Florida, New York’s baseball teams said they would play ball with Andrew Cuomo to ensure his 14-day quarantine mandate doesn’t derail their respective season relaunches. MLB’s second spring is set to begin July 1, with a 60-game micro-season on July 23.
MLB’s finalized health and safety protocols state that teams are subject to state and local rules on travel. “Clubs and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Individuals [which includes players, coaches and front-office staffers] “are expected to follow state and local travel restrictions where they are located,” reads the league operation manual, which was finalized Tuesday night hours before Cuomo’s announcement.
However, according to the Yankees and Mets’ statement, their teams and the state health commissioner would “work under Major League Baseball’s protocols and guidelines.”
Neither team responded to the Daily News’ questions regarding how MLB’s protocols differed from the state.
The Yankees and Mets’ apparent exemption from regional travel requirements are far from the first as the nation attempts to play sports through its raging health crisis. On May 22, days before the NHL revealed its return plans, the US Department of Homeland Security allowed athletes and coaches from most major American sports leagues — including the NHL, NBA, WNBA, and MLB — to cross the country’s closed borders and return back to work.
Cuomo’s advisory applies to anyone — well, almost anyone — traveling to New York from a state with either a COVID-19 transmission rate above 10 per 100,000 people or 10% of the total population testing positive if those indicators were reached during a seven-day rolling average.
“We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don’t want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region and they can literally bring the infection with them,” said Cuomo. Travelers could get fined up to $10,000 for failing to self-isolate.
Dozens of MLB players and staff, including some unnamed Yankees, reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 over the last week, prompting the league to close all spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona on June 20.
Over 124,000 people have died from coronavirus in the United States, with more than 30,000 of them coming from New York state.