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NFL referees plan to wear masks on the field

NFL referees are expected to wear masks on the field during games this season.

NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green told Tom Pelissero of NFL Media that on-field officials are expected to wear some kind of face covering and gloves. Masks are one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and although players say it’s not practical to ask them to wear masks, officials should be able to do their jobs with masks on.

Officials are also looking into using handheld electronic whistles to stop plays, rather than blowing whistles.

The officials’ union is asking for the league to provide testing twice a week, once while the officials are at home and once after they’ve arrived at the game location.

The average age of officials is 53, and with concerns that older officials are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, they are negotiating the possibility of some officials opting out of the season.