MLS players can begin individual workouts at team training fields beginning May 6, provided they comply with comprehensive safety protocols set out by medical and infectious disease experts, the league has announced.
Only two rounds of matches were played in MLS before it was suspended March 12 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was hoped originally that action could resume by May 10, but last month MLS said it may have to play a shortened scheduled.
While it remains unclear when play will begin again, MLS released a statement Friday confirming a step forward in a return to training, with all workouts on a voluntary basis.
“By allowing players, on a voluntary basis, to utilize team-operated fields for individual workouts, MLS clubs will be able to provide a controlled environment that ensures adherence to safety protocols and social distancing measures for players and staff,” the league said in the statement.
“The individual player workout protocol prohibits access to club facilities including but not limited to locker rooms, team gyms, and team training rooms. Team gyms and training rooms may still only be accessed by players receiving post-operative and rehabilitation treatment, as directed by the club’s chief medical officer.
“The leaguewide moratorium on small group and full team training remains in place through, and including, Friday, May 15.”
The statement said every team must submit a club-specific plan detailing how they plan to adhere to health and safety protocols.
The criteria included the restriction of training facility access to essential staff only, plans for sanitization and disinfection of equipment, a screening assessment for each player prior to arrival and temperature checks at the facility.
It added there should be staggered player and staff arrivals and departures with each having designated parking spaces. Furthermore, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used from parking lots to the field, while staff should use PPE through training and keep a distance of 10 feet from players.
Clubs can use outdoor training facilities, with each field divided into a maximum of four quadrants and only one player per quadrant able to participate per session.
All teams must create an emergency action plan for all COVID-19 related issues, which is to be approved by the club’s medical staff and local disease experts before being submitted to MLS.