Chicago White Sox — after reaching the 85% vaccination threshold — can now relax some protocols

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The Chicago White Sox reached the 85% vaccination threshold for tiered players and staff Saturday.

Among the relaxed protocols, all vaccinated Tier 1 players and staff are no longer required to wear face masks in the dugout.

“There are differences, a little more freedom, especially not wearing a mask,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said Sunday. “But I’m not sure when we go to Minnesota (Monday), what we’ll do there as far as getting away from the hotel. But knock on wood, we are trending in the right direction, not just baseball, but as a country.”

Asked Thursday about the possibilities, Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said “We all are being smart. Just do what makes sense.”

According to a March 29 ESPN report, other eased protocols include allowing those individuals to play cards on airplanes and eat at restaurants.

According to a joint news release from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, as of Friday 12 teams had reached the 85% threshold while four more have 85% or more of their Tier 1 Individuals having received their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The relaxed protocols will go into effect two weeks once they are considered fully vaccinated.

According to the release, “83.9% of all Tier 1 Individuals are considered partially or fully vaccinated (i.e., have received at least one vaccine dose), and 77.6% of all Tier 1 Individuals are considered fully vaccinated,” as of Friday.

The Chicago Cubs are among the teams not at the 85% mark, though manager David Ross told reporters Friday “I’m holding out hope.”

As far as in the stands, the Sox and Cubs will soon be able to accommodate up to 60% of capacity at home games.

For the Sox, it begins May 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals at Guaranteed Rate Field. For the Cubs, it begins May 28 against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

“Just continue to keep pushing and having fun with a bigger crowd,” Anderson said.

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