A large outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests around the league has led to changes in protocols for Week 15 as the NFL and NFL Players Association continue to discuss further modifications.
In a memo sent to all 32 teams, the league said that in-person meetings will not be allowed unless they are held outside or in practice bubbles large enough to allow for distancing between participants. All players, whether they are vaccinated or not, must wear masks when indoors at team facilities and food service in team facilities will shift to a grab-and-go model with no groups of players or staff allowed to dine together.
The new protocols also call for players on road trips to remain in the team hotel and they are no longer able to entertain visitors on the road. Gatherings of three or more members of an organization outside the team facilities while at home have also been prohibited and there are other limitations on what players can do socially.
Those protocols are similar to the ones used during the 2020 season, but the league has also announced a change to how vaccinated players and staff can return to the team before a 10-day isolation period is up. Two negative tests taken 24 hours apart was the standard in such cases, but the new protocols allow for asymptomatic individuals toa take two PCR tests, two Mesa tests, or one PCR and one Mesa test concurrently and return to work if they are negative or if the tests show a Cycle Threshold over 35.