NFL

The NFL is tightening the belt on covid-19 protocols

As the number of positive cases climbs, the league is taking no chances.

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The NFL is tightening the belt on covid-19 protocols

As national numbers rise the NFL is doing all it can to combat a resurgence of covid-19

The NFL gets stricter with covid-19 protocols

As covid-19 cases rise nation wide, the NFL is wasting no time as it revamps its approach to the pandemic. On Tuesday night the league announced a series of changes to it's covid-19 protocols, including mandatory testing for all players and staff on the Monday and Wednesday after the holidays and a obligatory mask-wearing policy for all players and staff while inside club facilities.

The new regulations are set to be enforced from November 25th to December 1st. Interestingly, the league has also implemented additional requirements where surveillance cameras are concerned. According to the memo, teams will now be subjected to the NFL, "periodically reviewing footage from surveillance cameras in club facilities to ensure Protocol compliance. Discipline has been issued against individual players and clubs as warranted."

The NFL demands video surveillance

While there has indeed been critique, the NFL is not taking the matter lightly. As of November 29th, all NFL teams will be required to have video cameras installed in their gyms and cafeterias. This includes gyms that are outdoors as well as those which are in practice bubbles. Teams will be expected to save video from those cameras for a period of 30 days in the event that the league requests a revision of said video as a means to discovering whether individuals are abiding by covid-19 protocols in team facilities.

The NFL's Dr. Allen Sills supports the move

As much as the situation has become tense, there is undoubtedly reason behind the move. Speaking on the friction, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills made it clear where he stands on the league's recent revision of protocols. It must be noted that some 81 players and staff members have tested positive for covid-19 during the latest testing period, which occurred between October 31st and November 13th. The number signifies the highest caseload of the season. In fact, when reviewing the period between September 5th and October 30th, there has been a total of 97 players and staff members who have tested positive. "That wasn't a total surprise to us," 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."

What other protocols has the NFL updated?

According to the league, approximately 6,500 people are being tested per period. Where the memo is concerned it would appear that the upcoming sgivThanking break is of serious concern. The correspondence makes clear that NFL teams "are strongly encouraged to offer drive-through testing" for friends and family of staff and players who will with them during the holiday period. "Such testing should be conducted before friends and family interact with players and staff."

In addition, all Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will receive a rapid PCR test on Monday November 29th as well as Wednesday December 1st. Where unvaccinated players are concerned, they will now be tested daily and will have to be registered with a negative test result before they can be permitted to enter the team's facilities. In contrast, vaccinated individuals will be subject to once a week test and won't be required to wait for test results before then can enter the building. For the week after Thanksgiving specifically, vaccinated individuals will be tested on Monday and Wednesday.

Additionally the NFL's memo reaffirms the notion of testing procedures themselves, where requirements for mask-wearing are concerned. This is specifically relating to when teams travel either by plane or bus. Sills also added that the NFL and NFLPA have initiated a voluntary study of covid-19 antibody levels among vaccinated players and staff to arrive at a more accurate understanding of whether or not immunity across the league is flagging. Should the results tilt in the direction of the affirmative, it could understandably form the basis of a booster shot protocol as has been seen in the NBA.