Getty Images

Earlier this week Major League Baseball issued a memo to all 30 teams instructing them to limit access and voluntary workouts at their facilities in the weeks leading up to spring training, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The restrictions are intended to limit risk of COVID-19 exposure, and the memo says teams in violation will be "subject to significant discipline."

In addition to restricting facility access, MLB has also advised players and staffers to avoid crowded places, according to Nightengale. Here is part of MLB's memo:

"We have been informed that some clubs intend to increase the number of players at their Spring Training facilities in January and February prior to the commencement of spring training,'' the memo reads. "As you are all aware, COVID-19 is surging in the United States, and conditions may worsen after the holiday season. We have not yet received firm guidance from our medical experts on whether it is safe to conduct organized workouts in Club facilities under current conditions, and the protocols that would be required to conduct such workouts safely.

"We also have not yet negotiated with the Players Association over the health and safety protocols that will be applicable to 2021 Spring Training and the 2021 season. Finally, the intensive COVID-19 testing protocol that we utilized in 2020, which is necessary when the risk of community transmission is high, will not be available to clubs from central baseball until the start of Spring Training. 

"As a result, until the commencement of spring training … clubs may not direct, encourage, or request (even on a voluntary basis) that players travel from their present locations to the club's spring training site for the purpose of utilizing club facilities." 

Access to team facilities is not prohibited entirely. Players who live close to their team's facility or require medical treatment are allowed into the facility, for example. All personnel will be subject to temperature checks and symptoms screening, as well as rules regarding facial coverings. Only 10 players and 10 staffers are allowed in the facility at one time.

MLB wishes to delay the start of spring training and the regular season until fans can attend, though, as The Athletic's Evan Drellich recently noted, it's unlikely the league will get its way without a government-ordered lockdown. Drellich says spring training is expected to begin on time in the middle of February. The first teams are scheduled to report in approximately six weeks.

It is common for players who live in the area to work out at their team's spring training facility in the offseason. Arizona and Florida, home to all 30 spring training sites, are among the states with the highest COVID-19 infection rates at the moment.

MLB and the MLBPA have not yet agreed to COVID-19 protocols for spring training and the regular season.