Under the current New York City mandate regarding private-sector employers, unvaccinated players for the Yankees and Mets will not be able to play home games this season. The same COVID-19 mandate that Kyrie Irving and the NBA's Brooklyn Nets have been navigating during the ongoing season also applies to outdoor venues such as Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and Citi Field in Queens, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes.
On Friday, New York City health commissioner said the private-sector mandate will remain in place indefinitely. From Matthew Chayes of Newsday:
Dr. Ashwin Vasan, who started as commissioner earlier this month, also said the city health department had set no health bench marks — such as of infections, hospitalizations and deaths — below which the mandate might be suspended.
"I think it's indefinite at this point," he said. "You know, people who have tried to predict what's going to happen in the future for this pandemic have repeatedly found egg on their face."
The relevant mandate was enacted in late December by Bill DiBlasio's Administration, and it requires that in-person workers for any New York City-based business receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines in order to continue that in-person work. As of yet Mayor Eric Adams, DiBlasio's successor, has not moved to repeal it (Adams, however, has lifted other mandates related to the virus). A city spokesperson told Bondy that "mandates could shift with the state of the pandemic, but said that the city would not be carving out individual exceptions."
Unvaccinated MLB players are already barred from playing games in Toronto, and the Blue Jays share the AL East with the Yankees. In terms of the worst-case scenarios, unvaccinated Yankees players would miss 92 games this season, while unvaccinated Mets players would miss 83 games.
While it's not precisely known which players are unvaccinated, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is widely believed to be among them. Here's how he responded on Tuesday when asked if he's been vaccinated against COVID-19:
NJ.com also reported Tuesday that two Yankees remain unvaccinated.
The Mets are also known to have fallen short of the 85 percent vaccination threshold laid out by MLB last season -- the level required for a team to enjoy loosened restrictions.
Regarding the Mets and Yankees and the challenge posed by the mandate:
Per a Mets spokesman, the team is not commenting publicly today on the news that unvaccinated players are barred from playing home games under current NYC law.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) March 15, 2022
The Yankees say that president Randy Levine is "working with City Hall and all other appropriate officials on this."
Right now, Union and clubs are working on getting clarification on the previous differentiation between outdoor and indoor play. Union and club sources say that they confident that this will all resolve itself by Opening Day, which is April 7th. https://t.co/wKMTftJKvw— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) March 15, 2022