- The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to continue testing players for COVID-19 each day, but not on game days, according to a memo distributed to teams on Saturday.
- Pregame exams will be conducted the day before a game, and players will be allowed to play so long as they receive a negative test two hours before kickoff.
- The new guidelines state that masks for players on the sidelines are recommended but not required, except for in cities that mandate them.
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With the start of the NFL season days away, the league and its players’ union, the NFL Players Association, have agreed to continue testing players for COVID-19 daily, except on game days, according to a memo distributed to teams on Saturday.
The daily-testing requirement applies to players as well as all team employees categorized in Tiers 1 and 2, the Associated Press reports. Tier 1 includes players and others — like coaches and trainers — who need to come into direct contact with players, while Tier 2 employees are those who may need to be in close proximity to players.
According to the new guidelines, pregame coronavirus tests will occur the day before a game and must be conducted before a team travels, per the AP. The memo sent to teams also outlines a testing schedule designed to give teams enough time to deal with any false-positive results, ESPN reports. Players will be allowed on the field so long as they receive a negative test at least two hours before kickoff.
The NFL has been administering coronavirus exams to players each day since training camp began in July, and the latest daily-testing agreement between the league and the NFLPA was set to expire on Saturday. The NFL and NFLPA said that daily testing for Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel would continue “until we advise otherwise,” according to The Washington Post.
The new protocols also state that Tier 1 and 2 personnel cannot access team facilities the day after a game and that players must wear a mask when participating in the coin toss, according to the AP. Face coverings are recommended but not mandatory for players on the sidelines, save for in cities where local regulations require them.
The NFL season starts September 10th with a matchup between the Houston Texans and the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.