Will Alameda County’s decision to pause reopening impact the Oakland A’s?

The A’s still have the green light to return to Oakland and start playing baseball even though Alameda County announced delays to its COVID-19 reopening timeline that seemingly would put the team back on the bench.

The Alameda County’s Office of Emergency Services announced on Monday that increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates in the East Bay caused a temporary pause in reopening plans that included allowing opening barbershops, pools and indoor dining as well as professional sports events without fans.

The A’s are set to begin workouts at the Coliseum on Saturday with plans to start playing regular season games there later this month, and according to the county, nothing has changed despite Monday’s announcement.

“The A’s are not affected,” the Alameda County’s Office of Emergency Services responded in an e-mail request for clarification about the A’s status.

A’s president Dave Kaval said Tuesday that he was not surprised his team will be allowed to move forward.

“We agreed to higher health and safety standards than normal business operations,” Kaval said. “We need to adhere to the general county wide-provision, but the operations we are conducting, the higher standard, they feel that can be done in a safe way that doesn’t compromise the health and safety of everyone involved.”

Kaval said the A’s received clearance from the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency on June 22 to resume games without fans starting after July 3. The current plan is for regular season games to start on July 23 or 24.

On Monday, the county had reported a Bay Area-high 5,762 cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 700 cases to its count over the last seven days. Alameda his holding a 123.5 average new case load per week.

The A’s staff started its COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, and players on the 60-man roster returning to Oakland will receive testing in the coming days. All the tests taken will be sent to the Performance Enhancing Drug testing facility in Utah so as to not overrun Alameda County testing resources.

“We wanted to be additive in the county’s testing abilities,” Kaval said, adding that baseball teams can inspire and normalize effective safety precautions by wearing masks and adhering to social distancing practices.

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Author: Shayna Rubin