PORT ST. LUCIE — The Yankees and Mets’ lack of concern about New York City’s private-sector vaccine mandate proved to be warranted.
Vaccinated or not, they will all be able to play at home once the season begins in two weeks.
Mayor Eric Adams is set to announce on Thursday the easing of the workplace vaccine mandate, The Post confirmed, allowing an exemption for professional athletes and performers in local venues.
Had the mandate not changed ahead of April 7 in The Bronx or April 15 in Queens, multiple unvaccinated Yankees and Mets could have been at risk of missing home games — as Nets star Kyrie Irving has during the NBA season.
The exact number of unvaccinated Yankees and Mets is not publicly known, but a number of stars had recently declined to reveal their vaccination status as concern grew over Adams insisting his decisions would not be dictated by the baseball schedule. The list of players who declined to say whether they were vaccinated included Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo on the Yankees and Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis on the Mets.
When asked about the mandate being lifted, Judge said: “I’m happy Kyrie can play some home games.”
He added he hadn’t been overly concerned about it impacting the Yankees.
“Like I told you guys, I wasn’t too worried about it,” Judge said. “I’ve got a lot of things to do here at the field. If the mandate’s not there, good for Kyrie and help the Nets out a little bit.”
Aaron Boone didn’t want to address the issue until it becomes official.
“We’ll see,’’ Boone said. “I don’t want to comment on any speculation. Hopefully it’s not an issue for us.”
Since the news of the vaccine mandate applying to the Yankees and Mets first broke last week, both teams took a wait-and-see approach, hoping that 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’s people that are being asked in our city to do a certain thing and we don’t expect any — when 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’re very respectful of those things that they’re trying to put in place to protect people.”
COVID-19 cases have been rising slightly in recent days in New York City, but not nearly to the extent that they were during the winter.
Last season, when the NYC private-sector mandate was not yet in place, the Yankees had more than 85 percent of their Tier 1 personnel (which includes players, coaches and other staff with access to players) vaccinated. The Mets had a 77 percent vaccination rate among Tier 1 personnel, The Post previously reported, but only about 55 percent of the players were vaccinated at one point last season.
The Yankees could still be at risk of missing unvaccinated players for their nine games in Toronto this season, barring the reversal of Canadian border restrictions. Manager Aaron Boone said last week “a few guys at least” were still unvaccinated and that the Toronto situation was a “concern.”
Under the current restrictions, Major League Baseball players who are unvaccinated would not be allowed to play in Toronto. The expectation is that teams would instead place those players on the restricted list, using the authorization vested in the new collective bargaining agreement to dock pay and service time.
— Additional reporting by Dan Martin in Tampa