MLB Will Not Mandate Vaccines or Temperature Checks for Fans

Getty Images/Dilip Vishwanat

In a memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Major League Baseball makes it clear that it will not mandate vaccinations or temperature tests for fans prior to entering ballparks this year.

According to the Times:

In a memo sent to teams Monday and obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the league outlined what it called its “minimum health and safety standards” for the 2021 season. The league noted that state and local authorities could mandate more restrictive standards and that all policies are subject to change as the public health situation in the United States changes.

The league completed its 2020 regular season without fans in attendance, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Monday’s memo was intended to help clubs plan “safely welcoming fans back to ballparks in 2021.”

In the memo, the league said teams could decide whether to require proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test, and/or temperature checks but that MLB did not intend to mandate any of those steps. During the 2020 postseason, when MLB admitted a limited number of fans for the World Series and National League championship series in Arlington, Texas, the league did not require temperature checks.

So, while the league may not require proof of vaccination, individual teams may decide they want to require vaccinations or temperature checks.

“Mass testing of this kind is not practical with the existing rapid testing options, and testing is of limited utility when done days in advance of an event,” the league explained in the memo.

The league did leave open the possibility of so-called “pod” seating. where groups can purchase tickets that maintain social distancing.

“The league also said it would mandate that fans wear a mask at all times except when eating or drinking at their seats; that social distancing be enforced in lines to enter the ballpark, for concessions and merchandise, and when leaving the ballpark; that hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations be widely available; and that a buffer zone of at least six feet be established between fans and the playing field,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Spring Training begins on February 27, Opening Day will be April 1.


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