The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to suspend all aspects of their joint COVID-19 protocols, effective immediately.
Operations will return to normal after nearly two years of restrictions, the league relayed in a Thursday memo, obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
This is a long overdue announcement as there will be no more requirements for masks, tracking devices, monitoring tests or capacity limits unless required by the national or local laws.
“Based on current encouraging trends in the prevalence and severity of COVID-19, evolving CDC guidance, changes in state law, and advice from our respective experts, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to suspend all aspects of the COVID-19 Protocols,” the league memo read in part. “We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of players, coaches and staff. , as we have done throughout the pandemic.”
The memo stresses, however, that teams must remain “in compliance with national and local law and are free to continue to take reasonable steps to protect their staff and players.”
Among the notable protocols that will be lifted:
- There will no longer be mandatory surveillance tests for players or staff, regardless of their vaccination status. However, teams will be required to “identify space within club facilities to accommodate at least 10 Mesa docks” for anyone who reports symptoms.
- Players and staff are no longer required to wear Kinexon (tracking) devices.
- Regardless of vaccination status, players and staff are not required to wear masks or face coverings. This is subject to state and local requirements, and clubs may require masks “if they choose to do so”.
Going forward, according to the memo: “All individuals should continue to monitor themselves daily for symptoms before entering club facilities.”
If someone experiences symptoms of COVID-19, they are advised to report to club medical staff and will need to test negative to return to club premises. Players – or staff – who test positive must now self-isolate for five days after testing positive.
Thursday’s memo drives a long-awaited development after the 2020 and 2021 seasons were played under COVID-19 protocols that significantly altered day-to-day operations, led to game postponements and myriad missed games for players and coaches. However, as Pelissero noted, in the previous two seasons, all 554 games were played and both Super Bowls went on schedule.
As the NFL world currently descends on the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine to get a glimpse of the players of the future, Thursday’s announcement is a sign that things are getting back to how they were before the 2020 season and the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19.