Wednesday November 29, 2023

NFL Ramps Up COVID-19 Precautions

  • The league is expanding sideline areas to allow for more distancing.
  • Home teams are required to provide 250 surgical masks on each sideline.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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The NFL issued a number of updates to its COVID-19 protocol in a memo issued on Nov. 3 following multiple positive gameday tests. 

Among the updates is an expansion of the sideline area at games to allow players off the field more space to distance. The space will now run between 20-yard lines. 

The league is also recommending that all players and team personnel wear a mask or gaiter on the sideline when not actively participating in a game. Additionally, players and staff will be required to wear face coverings in the locker room before, during and after games.

The NFL will also now remove any player or coach from play or the sideline if the league learned that they tested positive during a game.

Home teams are required to provide at least 250 disposable surgical masks on each sideline, the memo reiterated. 

“What we are trying to convey is masks can prevent you from becoming a high-risk contact, which is our goal, so it’s in everybody’s best interest to wear a mask for their protection and again to reduce exposure,” NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said on a conference call. “We believe that the mask use whether it’s in the locker room, on the sideline, it just reduces your chance of becoming a high-risk contact should someone turn positive.”

Two clubs that played on Nov. 1 had one player test positive based on gameday specimen collections, the league memo said. 

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who played on Nov. 1, said he tested positive. The team put seven players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 3.

Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon tested positive and was put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 2, and running back Jamaal Williams and linebacker Kamal Martin were later added to the list as high-risk, close contacts.

Chicago Bears right guard Germain Ifedi and backup tackle Jason Spriggs were also put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 3, as was Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis.

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