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New York City to provide vaccine exemption for athletes

It appears as though the Yankees will be able to feature a full lineup during home games this year.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It’s no secret that the vaccination status of key members of the New York Yankees roster has been a dark cloud over this offseason. With mandates in place in both New York City and Toronto, there were serious concerns over how many games, if any, that Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and others could be forced to miss throughout the season if they are indeed unvaccinated.

According to recent reports, however, New York City is set to provide a vaccine exemption for performers and athletes on New York-based teams:

Set to announce the news on Thursday, this change in policy means that unvaccinated athletes like the Nets’ Kyrie Irving will be able to return to work with the same exception that is currently granted to out-of-state unvaccinated athletes. This exemption will cover all arenas and stadiums in New York. It has been reported that the lifting of this mandate will be effective immediately upon announcement.

While this clears up any potential issues the Yankees faced with regards to playing home games, key series north of the border still remain an issue. As of right now, visitors to Canada are still required to be vaccinated, meaning that the Yankees could be without some important sluggers in their lineups when they take on the presumptive favourites to win the division. With no rumblings of this policy going away any time soon, the Yankees could be in some trouble when it comes to their nine games at the Rogers Centre this season should the roster’s status quo remain.

Full details of this exemption are still emerging, but for now at least, it seems as though the Yankees (and Mets) will be able to feature a full roster on Opening Day. You can read more about the announcement here.