NFL has tighter COVID policies for Thanksgiving

The NFL’s COVID policies are getting tighter for Thanksgiving. After Aaron Rodgers’s positive COVID-19 debacle, it looks like the NFL is clamping down to prevent any violations. The league fined the Green Bay Packers $300,000 for violating the NFL’s COVID protocol violations and Rodgers $14,650 for not wearing a mask while interacting with the media at press conferences.

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the league sent a memo to all 32 teams highlighting the stricter COVID protocols.

The NFL announced the changes in a memo Tuesday to clubs, who were also reminded they should enforce off-field restrictions on unvaccinated players and violations “may result in discipline against the club if it is found that the club has failed to enforce these Protocols.” Memo:

NFL to tighten its COVID policies for Thanksgiving

Due to cases of COVID rising because people typically gather indoors in colder weather, the NFL outlined heightened COVID protocols.

The memo stated that due to the cold weather and increased indoor gathering, the risk of COVID-19 infection between players and staff would also increase. The NFL memo went on to encourage players and personnel to get vaccinated:

“Our experts and data confirm that getting vaccinated remains our strongest defense against contracting and transmission of the virus within club facilities.”

The stricter protocols require individuals to wear masks at team facilities whether or not they are vaccinated. Increased COVID testing is also part of the new NFL protocols. The date range for these requirements runs from Thursday, November 25 to Wednesday, December 1. The existing policies for vaccinated and unvaccinated players remain the same, with unvaccinated players having much tighter restrictions than vaccinated players.

Additionally, the league requested players and personnel not to gather in groups of more than 3, not to attend nightclubs or bars where more than 10 percent people are present. The league’s memo strongly encouraged players and personnel to wear masks and maintain social distance if gathering indoors with more than 15 people in attendance.

In a peculiar move, the NFL also outlined a new requirement in the memo:

“All clubs will be required to have video camera surveillance of their weight room and cafeteria area available for review. This includes outdoor weight rooms or weight rooms in the practice bubble. If these areas do not currently have cameras in place, clubs will be required to install video cameras to produce this coverage.”

The memo notes the NFL has been periodically reviewing surveillance video for in-facility violations. “In addition, effective on or before November 29, all clubs will be required to have video camera surveillance of their weight room and cafeteria areas available for review.”

The league updated its COVID policies as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are coming up where players and staff will gather with family and friends indoors. As the number of cases in the community increases, it also reflects the number of cases rising within the league (The New York Times reported a total of 81 positive cases in the league in the two week period between October 31 and November 13).

Edited by Henno van Deventer

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