The NFL suspended its pandemic protocols on Thursday, pointing to recent trends that indicate the spread of the coronavirus has slowed.
In an agreement with the players’ union, the league sent a memorandum to the 32 teams citing “encouraging trends in the prevalence and severity of COVID-19, the evolution of CDC guidelines and Disease Prevention), changes in state law, and the advice of our respective experts” as reasons for the decision.
If the NFL finds reasons to reimpose any aspect of the protocols, it will do so in collaboration with the Players Association.
Teams will have to continue to abide by state and local regulations and may maintain “reasonable measures to protect their personnel and players,” the memo obtained by The Associated Press says.
Regardless of their vaccination status, players and employees will only be required to wear masks at team facilities, although individual clubs may require it on their own. Social distancing will also not be required.
The league will also eliminate mandatory testing of players and employees, regardless of their vaccination status. Tests will be performed only when clinically indicated or as directed by the team doctor.
But each team must have a facility to admit anyone who reports symptoms and requires testing.
Restrictions on exercise rooms, including capacity limits, have been lifted, although each team can impose its own rules.
Contact tracing devices have not been required since January 3 and the service will be discontinued.
The league encourages everyone to continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 daily before entering team facilities. Any individual who tests positive will have to self-isolate for five days.
No NFL games have been canceled in the last two years due to the pandemic, although many have been rescheduled. About 95% of players and nearly 100% of team employees were vaccinated, according to the league.
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