KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Major League Baseball has pushed back opening day until mid-May at the earliest because of the coronavirus.
The move came Monday after the federal government recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, guidance that later was adjusted to gatherings of fewer than 10 people.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement following a conference call with executives of the 30 teams.
The Kansas City Royals later sent out a statement, indicating it has shuttered its spring training operation amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
“As an organization we continue to monitor the developments related to COVID-19, and remain in constant contact with Major League Baseball, following their lead as things seem to change on almost a daily basis,” the Royals said Monday in a statement. “We have taken every step to secure the health and safety of our fans, players, coaches and staff in Arizona, effectively shutting down spring training at this point.”
MLB, which had previously announced a two-week delay to the start of the season, said it is committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Sunday that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled or postponed across the country for the next eight weeks.
The Trump administration said during an afternoon press conference that gatherings of 10 people or more are not recommended for the next 15 days.
While there still have not been any confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jackson County, the Royals announced plans to have employees work from home to reduce potential exposure.
“Our associates at home in Kansas City are also a top priority," the Royals said in a statement, "and though we’ve had no positive cases of coronavirus, we believe it is best to protect the safety of our employees and our community. With that in mind, as of today we have instructed all of our associates to work remotely from home for the next two weeks as we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19.”
That means the box office and team store at Kauffman Stadium also will be closed for the next two weeks.
“We will re-evaluate the situation at the end of these 14 days and make decisions accordingly,” the Royals said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.