The protocols taketh away. And giveth. And taketh away again.
Tuesday’s agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association adopting the CDC’s new five-day rule (down from 10) for all positive cases (vaccinated and unvaccinated) if asymptomatic includes a few other terms that will alter the experience at team facilities, until the next change in the COVID protocols.
The latest protocols bring back measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus in the building. However, rules regarding behavior away from the workplace have not been re-implemented.
In-person meetings once again must be held outdoors or in a practice bubble, with social distancing. All players and staff once again must wear masks when indoors at club facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Also, no more than 15 players once again may be present in a weight room at one time, and players once again may not eat together in the meal rooms.
Although the NFL has claimed that most of the infections happen away from team facilities, the new protocols include only a reminder that the Omicron variant “is among the most contagious viruses in history,” along with a statement that the NFL and NFLPA “strongly recommend that even fully vaccinated staff and players avoid public areas including restaurants, bars and social gatherings” during the current spike.
The teams that will be best situated to withstand the current spike will consist of the most players and coaches who will voluntarily restrict their activities when not at work. Alternatively, those that have the virus wash through the team now won’t have to worry about significant numbers of players, coaches, and staff being unavailable during, say, the playoffs.
Some think the league and the union are secretly hoping for that outcome. De facto herd immunity, thanks to the vast majority of players, coaches, and staff catching the virus now — and then not having to worry about catching it after Week 18.
Revised COVID protocols include return of enhanced restrictions in facilities originally appeared on Pro Football Talk