MLB's health and safety changes include contact tracing devices for players
Major League Baseball's updated health and safety protocols for the 2021 season include contact tracing devices for players, according to changes announced by the league Tuesday.
Under the new rules, players must wear sensors allowing clubs to monitor social distancing and conduct contact tracing if someone tests positive for COVID-19. Players can be disciplined for violating protocols, including forfeiting salary or suspensions.
Players, on-field staff, and essential team personnel must go through medical and testing protocols before arriving for spring training and undergo testing at least once every other day through spring training, the regular season, and possibly the postseason.
They also won't be allowed to attend indoor gatherings of 10 or more people, eat at indoor restaurants and dining areas, enter fitness and wellness centers, entertainment venues, or gaming venues like casinos.
On the road, players and personnel aren't allowed to meet indoors with people outside of the team's traveling party but can gather with same household or family members in an outdoor setting near the team hotel.
In addition to the changes, players won't be required to get a COVID-19 vaccination, though it'll be encouraged by the league, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers.
Players will also have access to in-game video in a format that doesn't allow them to steal catchers' signs, but communal video terminals will be prohibited, reports The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
MLB has the right to move teams to neutral sites, spring-training sites, or another club's home park if health and safety concerns arise, Rosenthal adds. The league can also conduct some or all of the postseason at neutral sites (including other team's home parks) if necessary.
MLB and the MLBPA reportedly agreed to health and safety protocols for the 2021 campaign Monday, with the deal including seven-inning doubleheaders and a runner on second base to start extra innings. A universal designated hitter was not part of the agreement.
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