The NFL instituted a set of intensive COVID-19 protocols for team facilities in the wake of positive tests this season, but they will now move to put those protocols in place for all of the league’s teams.
In a memo to all 32 teams on Wednesday, the league said that the protocols will now be in place for everyone through the end of the season. The decision was made in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases around the country and the corresponding rise around the NFL.
“The upcoming holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving next week, will introduce new risks of exposure that we need to address now,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote 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. We have also seen many instances in which effective action by clubs to minimize these close contacts prevented the virus from spreading within the club, and avoided players or coaches being ruled out of practice or games.”
The protocols call for meetings to take place virtually and all personnel must wear masks at all times while at team facilities, including on the practice field. They also call for no gatherings of players or other team personnel away from the facility.