Fresh off of fining the Green Bay Packers organization $300,000 for COVID protocol violations, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers $14,650 for not wearing a mask during his press conference appearances, the NFL is tightening its COVID protocols as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.
Wednesday morning, the NFL issued a memo to all 32 teams, outlining heightened COVID protocols ahead of the holiday.
Citing rising COVID numbers, and “colder weather driving individuals indoors,” the NFL says that there is an “increased risk of infection among players and staff.”
“Our experts and data confirm that getting vaccinated remains our strongest defense against contracting and transmission of the virus within club facilities,” the memo continues.
Part of the tightening of the protocols includes requiring masks at team facilities, regardless of vaccination status, and increased testing.
“All Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 individuals and players, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks at all times when inside the club facility beginning Thursday November, 25 through Wednesday December, 1,” the memo states.
As has been the case since NFL training camps got underway, unvaccinated players have much tighter restrictions than vaccinated players. The NFL is asking teams to not “gather outside of the club facility in groups of more than three (3) tiered individuals (including players), attend an indoor nightclub or bar in which more than ten (10) people are present, attend an indoor music concert/entertainment event, attend house gatherings of more than 15 people without all individuals wearing PPE and maintaining physical distancing, attend a professional sporting event other than applicable NFL games or events without being seated separately in a group of no more than ten (10), all of whom are wearing PPE … “
The NFL also informed teams that they will be watching how players and staff conduct themselves at team facilities, making it mandatory that teams have video of the team facility available for the NFL to review.
“All clubs will be required to have video camera surveillance of their weight room and cafeteria area available for review,” the memo reads. “This includes outdoor weight rooms or weight rooms in the practice bubble. If these areas do not currently have cameras in place, clubs will be required to install video cameras to produce this coverage.”
The NFL announced the changes in a memo Tuesday to clubs, who were also reminded they should enforce off-field restrictions on unvaccinated players and violations “may result in discipline against the club if it is found that the club has failed to enforce these Protocols.” Memo: pic.twitter.com/29zEqJnimi
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 17, 2021
According to The New York Times, there have been 81 positive cases in the NFL — among both players and staff — between October 31 and November 13. The 81 cases is more than double the positive cases from the previous two-week period.
“That wasn’t a total surprise to us,” NFL Chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said. “Because we’ve said our numbers in the NFL reflect what’s going in our communities around us. We saw more disease in a number of areas of the country that are really spiking with caseloads. We’re seeing and feeling the effect of that.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
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