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Training complexes closed down after COVID-19 outbreaks

FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

MLB has ordered all spring facilities closed down after several players in both Florida and Arizona complexes tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, with teams shifting player training to home ballparks

For instance, the Philadelphia Phillies confirmed five players and three staff members working at the club’s Clearwater Carpenter Complex have tested positive for COVID-19. The first confirmed case occurred on June 16. In addition, eight staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests, according to a statement from the team.

“The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected,” said Managing Partner John Middleton via press statement.

In addition, the Houston Astros confirmed a player working out at the complex in West Palm Beach, FL, tested positive for COVID-19, General Manager James Click announced, while the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants closed down their Florida and Arizona complexes. That led to MLB ordering all complexes closed for a deep cleaning.

Teams have confirmed the decision to move training operations to their home ballparks, though there has not been an announcement from MLB about an industry-wide move. Here’s the announcement from the New York Yankees:

As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this afternoon, the New York Yankees will hold a potential spring training resumption at Yankee Stadium.  We will continue to follow Major League Baseball’s guidelines and protocols, and we will vigilantly work with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and their health authorities, as well as with federal officials and Major League Baseball’s own medical and infectious disease experts, to ensure our facility maintains the best possible safety standards.

The health and safety of our players, staff and employees, and of their respectively families, will always be our top priority.

And here’s the aforementioned announcement from Cuomo regarding both the Yankees and Mets:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Yankees and Mets baseball teams will hold spring training in New York this year. The Yankees will conduct spring training at Yankee Stadium, and the Mets will conduct it at Citi Field. The Mets will host a soft opening this week for players who want to begin preparing. The teams will work with the State of New York to ensure proper health and safety protocols.

“COVID-19 has disrupted so many of the traditions New Yorkers know and love, and our inability to root for our home teams has been acutely felt all throughout this crisis,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to New Yorkers’ incredible efforts to slow the spread, we’ve determined it’s possible for the Yankees and the Mets to safely conduct spring training in the state this year and are thrilled to begin reopening America’s national pastime right here in New York. In a bleak time and in a season that obviously had significant hurdles to deal with, to have a spring training camp in New York is the first bit of really good news when it comes to baseball that we’ve had in a long time.”

The only team that may continue training at their spring camp: the Toronto Blue Jays. Canada’s travel restrictions call for a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from outside the country, and the Blue Jays have reportedly looked at other venues should the MLB season resume.

With daily news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we launched a Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge to industry professionals. Sign up here.

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