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Spit ban among new guidelines for KBO season

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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Baseball is nearly back for the Korean Baseball Organization.

The KBO is slated to open its regular season in May with hopes of playing a full 144-game schedule, and the league has unveiled a manual outlining how players and teams can navigate the schedule with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to Yoo Jee-ho of the Yonhap News Agency.

COVID-19 infections have declined in recent weeks in Korea, leading to the planned reopening of the KBO. Guidelines for players and staff to prevent a surge in new cases include:

  • Spitting is strictly prohibited
  • Bare-handed handshakes, high fives discouraged
  • Contact with outside visitors must be minimized
  • Players must have temperature taken twice before games and fill out daily health questionnaires
  • Masks "strongly recommended" in clubhouses, stadium during games
  • Umpires prohibited from making physical contact with players
  • Umps, team employees traveling with players required to wear mask and gloves

A player showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately quarantined under these guidelines. The stadium where his team last played will then be closed for at least two days. If the player tests positive for the virus, contact testing will follow to determine who else will need to be quarantined.

In the event of a positive test, the KBO says it will not automatically cease operating.

With Major League Baseball weighing its options for its own season, these guidelines could serve as a potential blueprint for eventually getting baseball off the ground stateside if it proves successful in Korea.

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