Report: Nationals to Play Opener at Home After Exploring Alternate Sites

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With Opening Day only one week away, the Nationals were previously uncertain if they would start the season at home due to local coronavirus protocols, according to The Washington Post.

But after exploring potential alternative sites, the plan for Washington to host the Yankees on July 23 is still in place. The Nationals received the all-clear to play at their home stadium on Friday, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

The club's concern stemmed from local Washington protocols mandating anyone exposed to the coronavirus to quarantine for 14 days. The city is "unwilling to bend that requirement for the Nationals," causing the team to wonder if they can compete under the rule, reports the Post

The Nationals reportedly considered two alternate sites—their Class A stadium in Fredericksburg, Va., and their spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Per the Post, an MLB spokesperson confirmed the Nationals and Dodgers are dealing with local quarantine rules that could create challenges this season. Los Angeles County also requires people who have come into close contact with a COVID-positive person to quarantine for 14 days, even if they don’t test positive or show symptoms. The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the club and MLB have talked with the L.A. County Department of Public Health about receiving an exemption, but the Dodgers have yet to receive one.

Both the Nationals and Dodgers are scheduled to host MLB's first two Opening Day games on July 23. Washington will face the Yankees at Nationals Park, while Los Angeles will take on the rivals Giants at Dodger Stadium.

The Nationals have had eight players and one coach enter Washington's mandated 14-day quarantine since summer camp opened July 3. The uncertainty surrounding the teams' ability to play at home adds to a rocky season fraught with testing delays and questions over the reliability of MLB's tests.