“Additional protocols governing screening and testing and game day procedures are being finalized with the NFLPA and will be sent as soon as they are approved,” Goodell wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.
The protocols do outline the treatment procedures that teams must follow as the NFL attempts to operate during the pandemic.
According to the protocols, anyone who exhibits symptoms of the virus must be tested as soon as possible. A team must perform contact tracing if any individual is identified with symptoms or tests positive. Any person found to have been in close contact must also be tested as soon as possible. Those with low- or medium-risk exposures are to be monitored for symptoms and tested under the standard testing schedule.
A person who tests negative after close contact and remains asymptomatic may return to the team facility, under the protocols, but must be tested daily for eight days thereafter. A person who tests positive but has no symptoms cannot return to the team facility for 10 days or until testing negative twice at least five days after the positive test. A person who tests positive and exhibits symptoms must be kept away from the team facility for at least 10 days and for at least 72 hours since symptoms last occurred. In both cases, doctors must approve the return of anyone who tests positive.
“The NFL and NFLPA have finalized the protocols regarding team travel, media, and treatment response, and have also updated the facilities protocol to specifically address Training Camp,” Goodell wrote in his memo. “The NFL and NFLPA jointly agreed that there will not be a mandatory quarantine period during Training Camp, and clubs may not require players to remain at club hotels during this period.”
Team employees are “subject to discipline” if they “knowingly and materially fail to follow these protocols.” The discipline for such violations is not specified.
Teams cannot require players to stay in hotels during training camp but must make hotel rooms available to players who wish to stay in one.
There are no fans or visitors permitted at team facilities during training camp. But a team is permitted to have up to two events at its stadium open to fans, if fan attendance is permitted under local public health guidelines. Fans cannot have contact with coaches or players and cannot occupy the first eight rows of seating closest to the field.
Media access is restricted during training camps. There are limits on the numbers of reporters who can attend. In-person media interviews with players are prohibited but are permissible with coaches with distancing measures in effect.
The league and NFLPA are empowered to conduct unannounced inspections to ensure teams’ compliance with the protocols.
The protocols repeat some of the requirements previously sent to teams. Personnel are classified as being in Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3. Players and coaches are in Tier 1. There can be a maximum of 60 Tier 1 designees, in addition to players, in a team’s facility on any given day during training camp.
Educational measures and hygiene instructions are also outlined. A team facility must have a separate entrance for Tier 1 and 2 individuals. Players and staff must be able to maintain six feet of separation in the facility, even within the locker room.
There can be no more than 15 participants in a strength and conditioning workout. Weight room equipment must be relocated to a well-ventilated part of any facility or be outdoors. Meetings are to be conducted virtually if possible, and any in-person meetings should be held outdoors. Players and staffers must wear masks inside the facility unless it would interfere with performing an athletic activity.
Training camp begins with two days devoted to conducting medical exams and fitting players for equipment. Any player or employee who develops symptoms or tests positive must report the details to the team physician. Teams must notify the league of confirmed or suspected cases, and the league will notify the NFLPA.
A team’s traveling party to a road preseason game is limited to 110 people. Members of the traveling party must wear masks and are subject to temperature screening, symptom checks and mandatory hand-cleaning.
Most teams are scheduled to open training camp July 28.
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