After rounds of intense discussion and negotiation between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, an agreement has been reached to revamp parts of the COVID-19 testing thresholds and get players back onto the field more quickly.
Before that measure kicks in, the NFL has entered all franchises into the enhanced COVID protocols through the end of this week’s games in response to a massive spate of positive tests this week.
That means through the end of this week’s games, franchises will revert back to last season’s most stringent guidelines, which were set in place prior to COVID vaccines being available. In-person meetings will be prohibited unless they occur outside or in a socially distanced practice bubble; there will be 100 percent masking inside facilities regardless of vaccination status; eating in groups inside the facility will be prohibited; weight rooms will be limited to a 15-person limit; and team travel this weekend will feature hotel lockdowns with no visitors allowed. All public appearances scheduled for players, coaches and front-office staffers will be canceled and social gatherings larger than groups of three will be prohibited.
Rough week of positive tests for NFL
The return to those stringent guidelines was undertaken after more than 116 players tested positive for COVID since Monday and fears that the Omicron variant could lead to rampant infection in the coming days and weeks. This week’s buzzsaw of infections included hot spots inside multiple franchises that will dramatically impact the starting lineups for teams this weekend, including the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams.