NFL Implements COVID-19 Protocol Updates; Player Masks Required On Sideline

The rules go into effect in Week 12


November 23, 2020

The NFL isn’t messing around ahead of the postseason, adjusting its COVID-19 protocols yet again as the pandemic’s second wave peaks across the country.

The reported new guidelines will come into effect when Week 12 begins Thursday, and came along with with disciplinary measures that will be taken against players who do not follow them.

The league on Monday reportedly sent a memo to all 32 clubs, which was obtained by NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. Here are its major points:

— Players who “are not substituting or preparing to enter the field of play and are not wearing their helmets will be required to wear a mask or double-layered gaiter” while they’re on the sideline.

— Face shields no longer will fly for coaches calling plays. A mask or double-layred gaiter now will be required in addition to a shield.

— Teams will be required to enforce these rules, with suggestions that they designate a few staff members to ensure everyone is following the rules and to be in charge of accountability measures.

— Player traveling parties have been reduced to 62 players.

— Access to team facilities has been reduced to a total of 70 people considered to be essential football personnel. Up to 25 additional staffers can be considered essential support personnel but under no circumstance are allowed to have contact or interaction with the essential football personnel. Teams can designate up to five medical staffers for access.

–Media access will be limited further to a total of 15 team and independent members of the media at outdoor practices. Independent reporters aren’t allowed entry to the facility during indoor practices and only up to five team-affiliated media members can cover indoor practices.

— Players and staff will be allowed brief contact with the other team after games but must quickly return to the locker rooms.

Hopefully, these measured improve the steady strings of positive tests we’re seeing around the league.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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