Unvaccinated Mets and Yankee players will be unable to take the field for home games due to the citywide mandate that employees in the Big Apple be inoculated, according to City Hall.
While Mayor Eric Adams lifted the requirement that businesses check the vaccine status of patrons on March 7, allowing unvaccinated fans to attend games, along with bars and restaurants, the mandate that workers of businesses with more than a single employee get the shot remains in effect.
Last season, several Mets players and other on-field personnel did not get the vaccine, which placed them under the MLB’s 85% threshold mark to allow for relaxed COVID-19 protocols. That put them with five other franchises failing to reach the mark — including the Boston Red Sox, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Seattle Mariners, the Kansas City Royals, and the Chicago Cubs.
The Yankees, meanwhile, did see above an 85% vaccination rate for players and on-field employees, though the New York Post reported that multiple players had not received the shot.
Both big clubs were mum on the matter.
The Bronx Bombers’ organization issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that team president Randy Levine “is working with City Hall and all other appropriate officials on this matter. We will have no further comment.” The Mets, meanwhile, similarly refused to comment .
The current policies mean that players can attend games as fans, but cannot play in any contests within the Five Boroughs.
That situation led to the odd scene on Sunday afternoon, when Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving, who has not been inoculated, sat courtside at Barclays Center for the team’s matchup against the New York Knicks, but was still barred from playing.
The NBA also levied a $50,000 fine against the franchise for allowing Irving to enter the team’s locker room following the game.
After the game, several Nets players voiced frustration with the questionable-public health benefits of the rules, including Kevin Durant, who called out Adams directly.
“It’s ridiculous. I don’t understand it at all,” said Durant. “It just feels like at this point now somebody is trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. Everybody’s out here looking for attention and that’s what I feel like the mayor wants right now is some attention, but he’ll figure it out soon. He better — but it just didn’t make any sense.”
Adams has said that he acknowledges the unfairness of the situation, which allows unvaccinated players from outside the Five Boroughs to play in the Big Apple, but said it would “send the wrong message” to make an expectation for pro-athletes.
With the MLB’s opening day coming on March 31, the Adams administration still has time to change the current mandates, though City Hall officials are yet to make any formal announcements about a potential shift.
A City Hall spokesperson, in response to questions from amNewYork Metro, said the city’s executive branch is examining trends in COVID-19 cases, and will evaluate the situation as facts on the ground change.
“We are not gonna predict what’s gonna happen in 3-4 weeks, but we are going to look at the data, and make the best decision on behalf of all New Yorkers,” the Adams rep said.