The NFL Institutes Strict COVID-19 Protocols As Cases Rise, All Players Are Required To Mask

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David Hookstead Sports And Entertainment Editor
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The NFL is amping up the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

According to a Thursday release from the league, all players will be forced to mask up no matter their vaccination status, meetings must be remote or outdoors, players can’t eat together and visitors are banned on roadtrips. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

The only upside here is that players who test positive can return sooner than the original 10 day window for unvaccinated guys and back-to-back negative tests 24 hours apart for the vaccinated. You can read the full release below.

To dig into the part about players returning, Mike Garafolo reported Thursday that players whose positive tests “take longer” to run in order to get the positive result will be allowed to return quicker.

What exactly does that mean? That’s a question nobody really seems to have a clear answer for.

Ian Rapoport shared a breakdown of the new testing protocols below, and it appears that the timeline is certainly shorter.

Obviously, it’s good news that players can return sooner after testing positive for the virus, but I can promise you guys won’t be happy about the stricter protocols.

If it’s safe enough to be in the locker room together and out on the field practicing and playing, why is it not safe enough to eat together?

That makes zero sense at all.

Now, why is all this happening? Well, that’s a simple question to answer. Cases are exploding in the NFL right now, and just from Monday through Wednesday, there were at least 75 players who tested positive.

If that rate had continued, there could have been postponed or canceled games. Obviously, the NFL doesn’t want that, which is why protocols are getting stricter and testing out is getting looser.

We’ll see how it all shakes out, but it’s crystal clear the NFL is taking this situation very seriously.