NFL drops all COVID-19 protocols

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell adjusts his mask before the NFL Super Bowl 55
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell adjusts his mask before Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The league has dropped all of its COVID-19 protocols.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The NFL is dropping its COVID-19 protocols. Mandatory testing, masks, proximity-measuring devices, it’s all over.

The league and NFL Players Assn. jointly announced the decision Thursday in a memo to all 32 clubs.

“Based on current encouraging trends regarding the prevalence and severity of COVID-19, the evolving guidance from the [Centers for Disease Control], changes to state law and based upon the counsel of our respective experts, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to suspend all aspects of the joint COVID-19 protocols, effective immediately,” the NFL said in a memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times.


“We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of the players, coaches and staff, as we have throughout the pandemic. Should there be reason to reimpose aspects of the protocols or take other measures, we will work closely with the clubs, the NFLPA and our respective experts, and local, state and federal public health officials to continue to safeguard the health of the NFL community.”

As the pandemic landscape has changed, so have NFL protocols to keep the season going. In a Q&A with NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills, he explains.

Jan. 14, 2022

The league stipulated that it will continue to adhere to state and local law and take reasonable measures to protect players and staff.

There will no longer be surveillance testing for the coronavirus, regardless of the subject’s vaccination status. Testing will only take place when clinically indicated or at the direction of a club’s physician.

Players and staff are no longer required to wear Kinexon devices, which measure the proximity and duration of time among individuals.

No longer will players or staff be required to wear masks in team facilities, regardless of vaccination status, although clubs have the option of requiring individuals to wear them on the premises.

There are strong indications the league is going to restore locker-room access to the media.


“All individuals must continue to monitor themselves for symptoms on a daily basis prior to entering the club facility,” the league said in the memo, noting that any individual who tests positive for the coronavirus must isolate for five days after the positive test.