Fully Vaccinated NFL Players, Staff Not Required to Wear Masks After CDC Guidance

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 14, 2021

NFL logo on the field before an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Like the general population, NFL players need to get fully vaccinated if they want to stop wearing masks.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport shared the league's modified COVID-19 protocols that state fully vaccinated players and staff members do not have to wear masks, even when they are indoors at team facilities.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

New guidance from the NFL for fully vaccinated players and masks: pic.twitter.com/hucm05CRTy

Those who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks.

This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed new protocols that state fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks even when they are indoors, per Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield of CNN.

The league's memo acknowledged that "clubs must adhere to local and/or state regulations, even if they are more restrictive."

It also encouraged teams to have the vaccine available for players.

The NFL was able to complete its entire 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic without canceling any games or moving to a bubble-like environment like many other leagues did. While there was limited attendance inside home stadiums, it still did not move any games.

There has already been a noticeable difference from last year, as the draft took place in person in Cleveland with Commissioner Roger Goodell, fans and some players in attendance. That stood in stark contrast to last year's draft that was held virtually.

One of the biggest storylines of the offseason has been the push from the NFL Players Association to hold virtual voluntary workouts.

The NFLPA released statements on behalf of players on certain teams that decided to do so, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith suggested teams should not hold mandatory minicamps as a way to minimize risk and injuries.

For now, players and staff members who are at the team facilities do not have to worry about adhering to strict mask-wearing if they are fully vaccinated.


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