MLS updates COVID-19 protocols ahead of 2021 season

Sporting KC

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – NOVEMBER 22: Sporting Kansas City players rush congratulate goalkeeper Tim Melia #29 after Sporting defeated the San Jose Earthquakes in overtime penalty kicks to win the MLS Cup playoff game at Children’s Mercy Park on November 22, 2020 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Major League Soccer is eight days from kicking of its 25th season when the Houston Dynamo host the San Jose Earthquakes at BBVA Stadium in Houston.

Ahead of the season, the league announced updates to the health and safety protocols in regards to COVID-19. They also added updated protocols for individuals who are fully vaccinated.

All 27 clubs will continue to travel in charter flights and bus capacities are limited to 50% to provide for social distancing.

Face masks are required for players to enter team facilities, but are not required while training or playing matches, during meals while maintaining physical distancing, when not able to do so during indoor activities due to a medical safety issue determined by club medical staff.

Players and staff are to avoid high-risk behavior which “includes engaging in activities where physical distancing is not observed between different groups and/or face masks are not worn by all participants.”

List of high-risk behaviors without limitation:

Travel by club personnel on commercial airlines
Eating meals indoors near other, except for cohabitants
Attending a night club or bar
Attending or hosting an indoor house party
Attending or hosting an outdoor party or social gathering where physical distancing cannot be or is not observed and/or where face masks are not worn by all attendees
Attending an indoor music concert or entertainment event
Attending an event or activity prohibited by state, provincial, or local regulation, executive order or law implemented due to COVID-19

Individuals who engage in high-risk behavior will be required to quarantine for five days and are unable to participate in group training or matched. They will also conduct 14 days of daily testing.

If a player continues to test negative or remains asymptomatic, he may participate in individual workouts outside team facilities. During the 14 days of testing, they should avoid indoor team facilities.

Any player or staff member who is fully vaccinated will be exempt from the five-day quarantine period if they are asymptomatic and continue to test negative.

Players with a confirmed COVID-19 case will continue to be required to undergo cardiac testing before being cleared by staff.

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