Rangers staff say they are ‘terrified of our safety’ amid positive virus tests

Following the revelation that several co-workers had tested positive for the coronavirus, Texas Rangers employees told ESPN on Friday night that they fear for their health and hope that the organization will allow employees to work from home afterward. to feel the pressure of entering the office.

Amid the eruption of new coronavirus cases in Texas, Ranger employees were told Thursday in an email from across the organization that “several members of our Texas Rangers family have tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID -19) “, according to a copy of the email. obtained by ESPN.

The positive evidence recognition came 10 days after the team entered a new reopening phase in which employees told ESPN that they were urged to work at Globe Life Field, the team’s new $ 1.2 stadium. billion. While there was never an explicit mandate, several employees told ESPN that their managers said working from home was not an option. Exceptions were made for some employees.

“We are terrified for our safety,” said an employee who works for the team and requested anonymity for fear of the repercussions of the organization. “Terrified of unknowingly sharing COVID-19 with an older employee, a pregnant coworker, or anyone else who may have some sort of underlying condition. We all knew it would come to this. It was only a matter of time.”

According to sources, more than 100 people work in the Rangers’ executive offices and more than 200 are generally in the stadium daily. The Rangers will disinfect their offices over the weekend, offer tests for coronavirus to employees on Mondays and Tuesdays, and may reevaluate their work-from-home policy in the days that follow. The team released a statement on Friday acknowledging the positive evidence.

“In the past 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 we have for positive COVID tests, and any employees who have had contact with these people he was sent home and will undergo the COVID-19 test, “the statement said. “People will not be allowed to enter the facilities 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 apply the pandemic protocols in effect for reception employees at Globe Life Field. These include temperature controls upon entering the building, use Mandatory face coatings and regular sanitation and cleaning of Globe Life Field facilities. “

While attendance at the office was not unequivocally mandatory, the reopening of the Rangers ‘offices has accelerated compared to other teams’ focus on baseball, according to league sources. The offices of some teams remain closed. Others opened their doors to smaller groups of employees. Texas was the first state to announce plans to reopen after instituting coronavirus blocks, and in early May, some Rangers employees returned to the office.

The managers, the Rangers’ employees said, allowed the employees to coordinate with other people sitting near them to take days off and allow adequate social distancing. They said some employees were not wearing masks inside, raising initial fears among employees.

Those that worsened as more returned to offices, employees said. In May, the stadium began hosting high school graduations and the volume of people entering and leaving the stadium increased. A Zoom call from June 12 for employees to return en masse on June 15 worried some, but with the teams surrounding the baseball court jobs, no one was willing to speak, according to a Rangers employee.

“I realize, we all realize, how lucky we are to have a job right now,” said the employee. “We weren’t fired. We weren’t fired entirely like some other club employees. We can continue to keep our families fed.”

But the positive tests made some more willing to speak, as did a Zoom call on Friday in which a doctor affiliated with the team suggested that employees were more likely to become infected with the coronavirus at home than at work. While several employees on the call said they believed the doctor had spoken badly and that they intended to address the ubiquity of the virus, the error resonated inside the Zoom call chat room, where employees requested evidence to back up their statement, based on copies of the chat log obtained by ESPN.

As recently as this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had said that sports teams could allow up to 50% capacity to attend the games, which would be more than 20,000 people at Globe Life Field. With Major League Baseball set to start training camps next week and games on July 23, an employee in Zoom’s chat wondered how the notion of fans at the stadium squared with employee protection.

“With cases on the rise, how do we plan to have fans here, considering that we need to keep our staff and players safe and healthy?” asked the employee. “What procedures will be implemented if fans are allowed in?”