Cubs manager David Ross said he’s “really excited” about the updated protocols for vaccinated Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals.
Days after the Cubs caused a stir, when reporters and fans noticed even Ross and his staff were mask-less in the dugout during a full-capacity Wrigley Field game, the rules have changed. Ross, who received his COVID-19 vaccine back in spring training, isn't required to wear a mask anymore.
Before Wednesday, this season’s health and safety protocols allowed teams that had reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold among Tier 1 individuals to unmask in the dugout or bullpen. The Cubs were one of eight teams that hadn’t reached 85 percent as of last week.
A Wednesday protocol update, which dropped midway through the Cubs’ 6-3 loss to the Mets, lifted the mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals regardless of team vaccination status, as The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli first reported. Vaccinated individuals are also no longer required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing.
“It’s another step back to normal,” Ross said. “No more testing, awesome. We can eat indoors now, we don’t have to wear our mask – we get to be normal human beings.”
The change in MLB protocols are in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for vaccinated individuals.
Under MLB’s new health and safety regulations, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated team members are still subject to MLB’s mask rules and regular testing.
Gordon Wittenmyer contributed to the reporting of this story from New York.