The NFL disseminated updated COVID-19 guidelines for the upcoming offseason in a memo to clubs Wednesday. Teams will be permitted to begin their offseason programs April 19, but should be prepared to conduct virtual meetings at least from the start.
That being said, the NFL and NFLPA do not anticipate having another entirely virtual offseason program as the league conducted in 2020. An in-person return to the practice field is expected.
The NFL just sent a memo to clubs, saying they should prepare to conduct meetings virtually when offseason programs begin April 19, but don’t anticipate another all-virtual workout program like 2020, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 31, 2021
Translation: Get ready to see players on the field this spring.
The memo next instructs clubs to accumulate the proper testing supplies by April 19. Clubs are also instructed to ensure all facilities are up to code and player and staff alike are educated in the league’s existing protocols.
Here’s the memo, which also says teams should procure sufficient COVID testing supplies before April 19, while also saying protocols “will be amended in the coming months to eliminate a number of significant restrictions for vaccinated individuals,” including daily testing. pic.twitter.com/EsAwO7ygQD— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 31, 2021
Clubs are also required to submit either an updated or confirmed existing Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) plan by Tuesday, April 6.
With regards to vaccines, the league will not mandate them, but they have presented certain incentives for players and staff to receive the shot.
“It is also anticipated that clubs that achieve a certain rate of vaccination among its tiered staff and players may be permitted to relax restrictions that apply to meetings, mealtime and use of locker rooms,” the memo read.
Fully vaccinated individuals could also be exempt from daily testing and mandatory quarantine following perceived close contact. Those player and staff members may have more freedoms returned beyond the facility as well, with those individuals potentially able to return to social gatherings with other vaccinated persons.
Vaccines won't be mandated, but here's the incentive:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 31, 2021
"It is also anticipated that clubs that achieve a certain rate of vaccination among its tiered staff and players may be permitted to relax restrictions
that apply to meetings, mealtime and use of locker rooms."