14 MLB teams reach 85% vaccinated, relax COVID protocols

NEW YORK (AP) — Two more Major League Baseball teams have been able to relax coronavirus protocols after 85% of their players and other on-field personnel completed vaccination, raising the total to 14 of the 30 clubs.

The commissioner’s office and the players’ association said Friday that two additional teams had reached the 85% level of having received final doses and would be able to relax protocols within the next week once they are fully vaccinated. The teams were not identified.

Relaxed protocols include dropping the requirements for facemasks in dugouts and bullpens, and loosening restrictions on mobility during road trips.

In addition, the Dodgers said Dodger Stadium will return to full capacity on June 15. The announcement means at least one-third of the 30 teams will be at full capacity by the All-Star break.

MLB said 84.4% of all Tier 1 individuals such as players, managers, coaches, trainers and support personnel had been partially or fully vaccinated, up 0.5% from the previous week, and 78.8% had been fully vaccinated, up 1.2% from the previous week.

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer and New York Mets President Sandy Alderson are among the executives who have expressed frustration in recent weeks at the pace of vaccinations for their teams.

There were five new positive results among 10,306 monitoring tests in the past week — two players and three staff — a 0.05% positive rate.

Thus far this season, there have been 59 positive tests — 32 players and 27 staff — among 166,584 samples tested, a 0.035% positive rate. The positive tests are among 22 teams.

Only Texas among the 30 major league teams began this season at 100% after fans weren’t permitted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Atlanta went to full capacity on May 7.

Others making the move to full capacity in-season are Arizona (May 25), Boston (May 29), Baltimore (June 1), Cincinnati (June 2). Washington (June 11), Philadelphia (June 12), St. Louis (June 14), Milwaukee (June 25) and Minnesota (July 5).

In addition, the New York Yankees and Mets were allowed by New York State to go to 100% capacity starting this weekend, but only for sections with vaccinated fans.

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