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Yankees, Mets react to upcoming NYC Vax mandate change

PORT ST. LUCIE — The Yankees and Mets’ lack of concern about New York City’s private-sector immunization mandate proved justified.

Vaccinated or not, they can all play at home once the season starts in two weeks.

Mayor Eric Adams will announce the relaxation of the workplace vaccination mandate on Thursday, The Post confirmed, allowing an exception for professional athletes and artists at local venues.

Had the mandate not changed before April 7 in the Bronx or April 15 in Queens, several unvaccinated Yankees and Mets could have been in danger of missing home games — as Nets star Kyrie Irving did during the NBA season .

The exact number of unvaccinated Yankees and Mets isn’t publicly known, but a number of stars had recently declined to reveal their vaccination status amid mounting concerns about Adams, who insisted his decisions weren’t dictated by baseball’s schedule. The list of players who declined to say if they were vaccinated included Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo for the Yankees and Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith and JD Davis for the Mets.

Buck Showalter and Aaron Boone
Buck Showalter and Aaron Boone
Corey Sipkin; NY Post: Charles Wenzelberg

When asked about the mandate being lifted, Judge said, “I’m glad Kyrie can play some home games.”

He added he wasn’t overly concerned that it would affect the Yankees.

“Like I told you, I wasn’t overly concerned about that,” Judge said. “I have a lot to do here on the field. If the mandate isn’t there, good for Kyrie and help the networks a bit.”

Aaron Boone declined to address the issue until it becomes official.

“We’ll see,” Boone said. “I don’t want to comment on speculation. Hopefully that won’t be a problem for us.”

Since news of the Yankees and Mets vaccination mandate first broke last week, both teams have taken a wait-and-see attitude, hoping the rules would change by Opening Day. The Yankees also had team president Randy Levine working with City Hall and other officials on the matter.

“We’ll deal with it as it comes,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday night when asked about the mandate. “There are people in our town who are asked to do a certain thing and we don’t expect anything – if it checks out and they tell us what to do, we’ll make the adjustments. I understand why we are where we are and we very much respect the things they are trying to put in place to protect people.”

COVID-19 cases have risen slightly in New York City in recent days, but not nearly as sharply as in the winter.

Last season, before NYC’s private sector mandate was in effect, the Yankees had more than 85 percent of their Tier 1 staff (which includes players, coaches and other staff with access to players) vaccinated. The Mets had a 77 percent immunization rate among Tier 1 employees, The Post previously reported, but only about 55 percent of players were vaccinated at any point last season.

The Yankees could still be at risk of missing unvaccinated players for their nine Toronto games this season unless Canada’s border restrictions are lifted. Manager Aaron Boone said last week “at least a couple of guys” were not yet vaccinated and that the situation in Toronto was “worrying”.

Under the current restrictions, unvaccinated major league baseball players would not be allowed to play in Toronto. Teams are expected to blacklist these players instead, using the empowerment enshrined in the new collective bargaining agreement to dock pay and tenure.

— Additional reporting by Dan Martin in Tampa

https://nypost.com/2022/03/24/yankees-mets-react-to-nyc-vax-mandate-change-to-come/ Yankees, Mets react to upcoming NYC Vax mandate change

JOE HERNANDEZ

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