Amid national spikes in coronavirus cases and deaths, the NFL is instituting more stringent measures to help mitigate the spread of the disease and prevent the cancelation of games.
The "intensive COVID-19 protocols" that go into place when a team has reported a positive case in their organization are now being implemented for all 32 teams for the remainder of the season, a league memo announced Wednesday.
All players and coaches must produce a negative test from the previous day before entering team facilities, while also requiring daily PCR tests.
“The upcoming holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving next week, will introduce new risks of exposure that we need to address now,” wrote commissioner Roger Goodell in the memo. “Because we have a highly sophisticated program of daily testing, we know when the virus enters our facilities, which underscores the importance of contact tracing and other steps to minimize close contacts within a facility. Recent experience has highlighted the importance of minimizing high-risk close contacts; on multiple occasions, we have seen individuals identified on that basis test positive within a short time."
Those intensive protocols also entail that all personnel wear masks at team facilities at all times, while team meetings are to be done virtually. Players and personnel are discouraged from congregating both inside and outside the facilities.