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Yankee Stadium sets world first with safety rating

Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees Major League Baseball team, has become the first sports and entertainment venue in the world to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management.

The accreditation has been awarded by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), which provides an evidence-based, third-party-verified rating for all facilities as venues around the world begin to welcome fans back amid COVID-19.

The Yankees’ designation has been confirmed by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), and IWBI said the award will allow the Yankees to operate with confidence that they are utilising best practices for players and staff and are appropriately prepared for the reintroduction of fans when MLB deems this possible.

IWBI created the WELL Health-Safety Rating in June and the system is informed by guidance developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other emergency management agencies and standard-making bodies.

The Yankees were one of more than 100 organisations, encompassing over 500 facilities, to enrol in the WELL Health-Safety Rating at launch and the team has begun implementing its scientific guidance.

The rating provides operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder engagement strategies to help organisations prepare their venues for the post-COVID-19 world.

Doug Behar, the Yankees’ senior vice-president of stadium operations, said: “Working with IWBI to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating allowed us to focus and implement the most effective and efficient methods known to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in both a workplace setting and a place where the general public will eventually gather again.

“Given that the WELL criteria have been informed by renowned experts and standard-making bodies in this field gives us confidence that we are taking appropriate preventative measures to support the health and safety of our players, field staff, employees – and eventually fans.

“Reaching this level and receiving third-party verification from GBCI was a long and uncompromising road, but one that is clearly in the best interests of everyone who steps foot into Yankee Stadium.”

Yankee Stadium implemented features across five categories to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating: Air and water quality management; cleaning and sanitation procedures; emergency preparedness programmes; health service resources; and stakeholder engagement and communications.

“The Yankees already had many of these strategies in place and used the WELL Health-Safety Rating to further strengthen their COVID-19 response and to document and verify these actions with our third-party reviewer GBCI,” Rachel Gutter, IWBI president, said.

“As a result, players, staff and fans can feel confident that the Yankees have implemented our research-backed strategies to provide a safer and healthier environment to play ball.”

Image: Matt Hecht