Mask requirements strengthened at team facilities, position groups spaced out in locker rooms

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Among the enhanced protocols put in place as a direct response to the outbreak experienced by the Tennessee Titans last week, mask requirements at team facilities have been further bolstered.

As part of an NFL memo distributed on Tuesday detailing the changes, the enhanced mask requirements have banned the use of neck gaiters at team facilities. Masks with valves or vents, and face shields are also prohibited. The one exception is that coaches can continue to use neck gaiters on field during games only.

Additionally, players from the same position group must have their lockers spaced out throughout the locker room and not concentrated in the same area. Presumably, this move would be to prevent a viral spread that could wipe out an entire position group at the same time.

Prohibitions on activity away from team facilities have been strengthened as well with Tier 1 staff, which includes players, coaches and front office personnel, prohibited from gathering in groups of more than three. If a team is shut down as the Titans were this last week, that becomes a total prohibition with gatherings of any numbers of Tier 1 staff for any reason no longer permitted.

So far the NFL has made it through a month of training camp and the first month of the regular season with the Titans incident being the only significant hiccup to operations. Now having had a chance to re-calibrate the protocols in place, the NFL will see if they can knock out another large chunk of schedule without any more major disruptions becoming necessary.