The NFL sent out a memo with new COVID-19 protocols agreed upon by the league and the NFL Players Association. The changes take place immediately and will continue through the end of Week 15 games.
The league has seen a rapid increase in positive COVID-19 test results this week. There were 75 on Monday and Tuesday combined after there were just 110 league-wide among players over the first three months of the season. On Wednesday, the league had placed seven teams in “enhanced” protocols following outbreaks within their organizations.
As part of Thursday’s updated protocols, all players and staff must wear masks inside team facilities regardless of vaccination status. Masks are not required outdoors or during practices.
In-person meetings for Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals, which includes players and coaches, are prohibited unless they are outdoors or in a practice bubble while individuals are physically distant. All other meetings must be conducted virtually. In-person meals and outside visitors while traveling are also prohibited.
There are also new testing guidelines as part of the updated protocols, including adjusted requirements for individuals who have recovered from COVID-19:
The NFLPA released a statement on Wednesday urging the league to reinstitute daily testing, which was implemented during the 2020 season.
While the league does not require its players to get the vaccine, it said it “will continue to strongly encourage booster shots.”
Three games were rescheduled this weekend after COVID-19 outbreaks within the Washington Football Team, Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns organizations.
On Saturday, the NFL and NFLPA released another memo on further updated protocols. The latest protocols call for "targeted testing" of symptomatic individuals. Unvaccinated players are still subject to daily testing, while fully vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals won't have weekly testing anymore.
Here is the full memo:
Higher risk players have until Monday at 2 p.m. ET to opt out of the remainder of the season.