(Reuters) – Major League Baseball said its players should avoid taking balls and pens from fans to sign autographs in an effort to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but it has no plans yet to cancel or postpone games, ESPN reported on Tuesday.
A memo distributed to hundreds of high-ranking baseball officials also said players should opt against handshakes with fans, a recommendation that echoes advice given earlier this week by the NBA, which told its players to use fist-bumps instead.
The league, which is currently holding spring training games with Opening Day scheduled for March 26, said it has created a task force to deal with complications that could arise in the coming months.
According to the memo, MLB is currently “developing recommendations to mitigate the spread of coronavirus at ballparks” that “address proper hygiene, cleaning methods for the clubhouse and training room, and supplies that Clubs may seek to purchase”.
MLB expects to inform teams of the plan later this week, according to ESPN.
The league also recommended officials avoid going to countries given a Level 2 or Level 3 travel warning by the Centers for Disease Control.
There are almost 91,000 cases of coronavirus globally of which more than 80,000 are in China. China’s death toll was 2,943, with more than 125 fatalities elsewhere.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Toby Davis)