Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports


NFL, NFLPA agree on new COVID protocols, lift restrictions for fully vaccinated

Jun 16, 2021 at 11:46 AM--


Things will be different for vaccinated NFL players versus those who opt to avoid protecting themselves from COVID-19. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network shared the updated protocols that the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed upon for training camp and the preseason. Training camp begins at the end of July.

Here's the breakdown of what NFL life will be like for vaccinated players and staff compared to unvaccinated players and staff.

Fully Vaccinated Players/Staff

  • No daily testing required
  • Masks not required at club facility or during team travel
  • No physical distancing required in the club facility with other vaccinated individuals
  • No quarantine required after high-risk exposure to COVID
  • No travel restrictions
  • No capacity limits in the weight room when all fully vaccinated
  • May eat in the cafeteria with other fully vaccinated individuals
  • No restrictions on social/media/marketing/sponsorship opportunities
  • May use sauna/steam room
  • May interact with vaccinated family/friends during team travel

Not Fully Vaccinated Players/Staff

  • Testing required every day
  • Masks required at club facility and during travel
  • Must remain physically distant from others in club facility
  • Must quarantine after high-risk exposure to COVID
  • Travel restrictions in effect
  • A 15-player limit in the weight room
  • Players must be physically distanced in the meal room; may not eat with teammates
  • Staff must grab-and-go; no meals in the cafeteria
  • No social/media/marketing/sponsorship activities permitted
  • May not use sauna/steam room
  • May not leave team hotel to eat in restaurants; may not interact with anyone outside of the team traveling party during team travel


San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan recently reported that 52 of the team's 90 players had been vaccinated. The team must get that number up to 77 to avoid team-wide restrictions, assuming the new protocols don't change that.

"I'm just hoping that we do it because I don't want to have to wear my mask in here anymore," Shanahan said. "And I want to be able to have team meetings in our normal meeting room and be able to hang out with each other when we go on the road to hotels. So hopefully that'll work out."


In addition to the player and staff guidelines, there was an update on the level of access that media members will have. Fully vaccinated media will be permitted to conduct in-person interviews with players for the first time since the 2019 season. Unvaccinated media will not be allowed in the press box, locker room, or on the field or sidelines.

Media Protocol

  • Media Access to club facilities: Media access to club facilities will be limited to those media members who are fully vaccinated. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Tier 2M individuals must wear masks in the club facility.
  • In-Person Interviews: In-person interviews with players and Tiered staff conducted by fully vaccinated Tier 2M individuals are permitted, provided that the Tier 2M Individuals maintain physical distance from players and staff at all times.
  • Game-Day Media Access: Media access to the press box, field and sidelines, locker room, and postgame interview room will be available only to those members of the media who are fully vaccinated, and subject to the limitations of the game-day protocol.
  • Post-Game Media Access: Player and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Interviews may be conducted in person, provided that physical distancing must be maintained and that media members are fully vaccinated.






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