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Yankees and Mets players who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 may not be able to play home games when the 2022 Major League Baseball season begins next month due to a city vaccination mandate.
In New York City, people who do in-person work or interact with the public must show proof of vaccination, according to the December 27 regulation. They either must be fully vaccinated with a one-dose or two-dose vaccine or provide proof of a plan to receive the second dose within 45 days of the first dose.
Mayor Eric Adams loosened some vaccine requirements this month for most indoor activities at restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues, but the private-sector mandate for employees is still in place. The regulation applies to the Yankees and the Mets, the mayor's office told The New York Times.
The Yankees, with a home stadium at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, open their season on April 7 with a home game against the Boston Red Sox. The Mets, with a home stadium at Citi Field in Queens, open their season on April 15 with a home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The mayor's office said that the mandate could shift due to the state of the pandemic but that it couldn't predict if circumstances would change by then, according to the New York Daily News. City officials won't carve out individual exceptions, and it doesn't matter that the teams play outside, a city spokesperson said.
Beyond baseball, the city mandate has been an issue for the NBA and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19. Irving has played in only 19 of the team's 69 games because he has been barred from playing home games but is allowed to play in cities that don't have vaccine mandates. He set a single-game franchise record of 60 points in a win against Orlando on Tuesday but won't be able to play in the Nets' next three games, the Times reported.
On Monday, the NBA fined the Nets $50,000 for letting Irving enter the team's locker room during a Sunday game against the New York Knicks. He was allowed to be at the game but not allowed to be in team facilities at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the newspaper reported.
It's unclear what the city regulation may mean for MLB players and how many Yankees or Mets teammates would be barred. It appears that two Yankees players remain unvaccinated, according to NJ Advance Media.
At the end of last season, the Mets were among the six teams that hadn't reached the league's vaccination threshold of 85% that allowed for loosened pandemic protocols, the Times reported. The Yankees met the threshold but had several coronavirus outbreaks.
"On behalf of the Yankees, Randy Levine is working with City Hall and all other appropriate officials on this matter," a Yankees spokesman, referring to the team's president, told the Times.
The Yankees declined to comment further, and the MLB, players' union and the Mets declined to comment to news outlets on Tuesday.
What's more, unvaccinated MLB players also won't be able to play in Canada against the Toronto Blue Jays due to border restrictions that don't allow unvaccinated foreign visitors to enter the country without special exemptions. The Yankees are scheduled to play nine games in Toronto this season.
On Tuesday, Yankees player Aaron Judge brushed off a vaccination question during spring training in Florida, according to USA Today.
"I'm so focused on just getting through these first games of spring training, so I think we'll cross that bridge whenever the time comes," he told reporters. "But right now, so many things could change, so I'm not really too worried about that right now."
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Cite this: Carolyn Crist. Unvaccinated Yankees and Mets Can't Play Home Games in New York City - Medscape - Mar 16, 2022.