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SEOUL (AP) – South Korea’s professional baseball league will ask fans to wear face masks and to sit leaving a gap between people when it enlists to allow spectators to enter its stadiums in the coming weeks amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The KBO announced Tuesday that fans will not be allowed to eat in the stands.

Initially, teams will be able to sell 30% of the capacity for each game, a figure that could increase to 50% depending on the country’s progress in efforts to contain the virus. This according to the plans of the league.

Spectators will be tested for temperature. They are discouraged from yelling, singing, and cheering during games to prevent contact and dispersal of the particles, KBO said.

In addition, to avoid agitated behavior, the sale of beers will be prohibited. Fans can only drink water or soft drinks.

They will only be able to purchase their tickets with a credit card so that the health authorities can easily locate the person if necessary. South Korea tracks those infected with credit card information, cell phone location, and security camera surveillance.

If it were confirmed that a fan contracted COVID-19 during a game, the KBO will immediately suspend the game and close the stadium for sanitation, while health authorities seek the person’s contact. Players and equipment will be tested if necessary.

If players or team members become infected, the league will close the facilities they visited for at least two days, but play will continue if possible. However, if the infected had contact with more than six people or there are other transmission risks, the KBO will hold an emergency meeting with the managers to determine if they should suspend the league for a minimum of 21 days.

The KBO became one of the first of the big sporting competitions to return to action in May, but with no fans in the stands. The seats have been filled with banners, dolls and images of the fans in order to give it a festive atmosphere.

Health authorities and sports ministry officials are consulting on preventive measures as plans are made for the return of baseball, soccer, golf and other sports fans. The plans could be announced this week.

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McConnell is holding COVID-19 relief hostage to Trump’s agenda — as usual

Bowing to inevitability, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally acknowledged that coronavirus relief thus far has been inadequate in helping some of the people who need it most. He’s leaving the door open in the next round of funding for more direct payments, but only to lower-income families.

At home in Kentucky this week, McConnell visited a hospital in Bardstown, where he said that the “people who have been hit the hardest are people who make $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry,” and that’s where he wants aid targeted. He’s also indicating new openness to more aid to state and local governments, a massive priority for everyone but him so far. He pointed to the $150 billion in direct aid to states that was in the CARES package, funding that couldn’t go to replace lost revenue in the states and cities, revenue that does things like pay public employees, including teachers, and funds emergency services. All this aid, he remains adamant, will depend on Congress passing liability protections for businesses and schools, saying that “unless grossly negligent or intentionally engaged in harmful behavior,” entities that prematurely reopen would be shielded from lawsuits retroactive to December 2019 and through 2024. Which means he’s with Trump in insisting that it’s time everything, including schools reopen, and thus is not going to allow enough funding for people to safely stay at home.

McConnell is insisting that no more than $1 trillion be included in this bill, bring the totality of spending by Congress in coronavirus relief to around $6 trillion, though the Federal Reserve, a raft of economists, and the Congressional Budget Office say much, much more will be needed to allow the economy to rebound if/when the crisis ever passes. The CBO projects $16 trillion in losses to the economy over the next decade, which could prove an underestimate if the government doesn’t respond adequately, and fast.

There’s signs that some of the aid could go where it needs to, in that McConnell is acknowledging that more direct aid is necessary, and the bipartisan push to get grants to the small businesses and non-profits which have been left out thus far. But there’s still no indication that McConnell will allow the $600/week boost to unemployment benefits to continue. That expires at the end of the month, a deadline he’s used and will continue to use to try to force Democrats to swallow whatever shit sandwich he hands them.

That would mean no increased food stamps, or money to states for mail-in-balloting this fall, or money to the Post Office, or a big infusion of funds to state, local, municipal and tribal governments. Or adequate direct cash payments to everyone. With Trump pushing hard on the “we’ll have to live with the deadly disease” line, insisting that everything must reopen, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are going to have a harder time doing what they did with the CARES bill—push McConnell aside and deal directly with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to get an adequate bill passed.

The best hope is pressure from people on McConnell and on his vulnerable Senate Republicans, up for reelection this year, and on Democrats to hang firm on squeezing as much out of McConnell as possible. Without more and lots of aid to the unemployed, the furloughed, the states and cities, people are going to be forced into reentering a workplace that’s clearly unsafe. We likely wouldn’t be having this surge of cases throughout the country if people weren’t being forced back to work, if staying at home was a viable option.

Saving lives, though, has never been the priority of Trump or Republicans. The best hope is making it clear that their political lives hang in the balance.

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