NFL Now Requiring Masks for Vaccinated Amid COVID-19 Surge
Thursday, 16 December 2021 04:40 PM
The National Football League updated its COVID-19 protocols Thursday amid a surge of new cases, requiring masks regardless of vaccination status, eliminating in-person meals and barring outside visitors while teams are traveling.
The league has not canceled any games but saw close to 100 positive tests among players this week by Wednesday evening, as other North American sports leagues including the NHL and NBA scrambled to control outbreaks and keep their seasons on track.
"The changes we are making today aim to address the increase in cases and the advent of the Omicron variant," the NFL said in a written statement, adding it was encouraging booster shots "as the most effective protection."
Players in the NFL have not been required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier this week, the league ordered staff members to receive the booster by Dec. 27.
"Based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19," the league said. "All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach."