Report: Multiple Texas Rangers Employees Test Positive for COVID-19
Several Texas Rangers employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by ESPN's Jeff Passan. Multiple Rangers employees told ESPN that they "fear for their health and hope the organization will allow employees to work from home after feeling pressure to come into the office."
Team employees have been working at Globe Life Field in a variety of ways since the state of Texas began its reopening phases. Unfortunately, Texas has become one of the worst hot spots in the country, setting hospitalization records for 14 consecutive days. On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott scaled back some state regulations, limiting certain businesses and services.
The return of employees has been described as a "gradual process" over the past couple of months. No mandate officially came from the club that required employees to work at the office. However some employees claim they were told "working from home was not an option," according to ESPN.
According to The Athletic's Levi Weaver, Rangers co-owner and co-chairman Ray Davis sent an email to team employees on June 10 saying that “beginning Monday, June 15, we will all be back in the office together.” Weaver also reports that internist Dr. David Hunter told Rangers employees during a Zoom meeting on Friday that they were "more likely to become infected at home and bring the virus to the office than they were to catch it at the office."
The Rangers have been in a unique circumstance through this shutdown as they are the only club in Major League Baseball who was set to open a brand new ballpark this year. Construction of Globe Life Field continued after Major League Baseball shut down operations, as it fell under the "Essential Critical Infrastructure" section in the ordinance imposed by the city of Arlington.
The Rangers issued a statement in response to the positive tests:
“Over the last 48 hours, the Texas Rangers have received notification that several of our employees have received a positive test for COVID-19. The Rangers immediately began the protocols that we have in place for positive COVID tests, and any employee who had direct contact with these individuals was sent home and will undergo COVID19 testing. No individuals will be allowed back into the facility without receiving a negative COVID-19 test.
“The health and safety of our employees are a top priority, and the Rangers will continue to diligently enforce the pandemic protocols that are in place for front office employees at Globe Life Field. These include temperature checks upon entering the building, mandatory wearing of face coverings, and regular sanitation and cleaning of the Globe Life Field facilities.”
According to ESPN, the Rangers will sanitize their offices over the weekend. They will also offer COVID-19 tests to employees on Monday and Tuesday and could revisit their work-from-home policy in the following days.