The NFL and the NFL Players Association have outlined game-day protocols and an infectious disease emergency response plan for training camp.
The documents, obtained by USA TODAY Sports, were sent to clubs Wednesday night. Notable highlights for the planned response to the coronavirus pandemic include no one with a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher being allowed into the stadium on game days, the "encouraged" — but not always required — use of masks on the sidelines and the ban of a popular postgame tradition.
Bench area individuals (officials, chain/ball crews, medical staff) are required to wear masks, though coaches and players are exempt. However, coaches and players who aren't regularly subbing in are "strongly encouraged to wear masks on the side lines." Disposable masks will be available.
Social distancing (at least six feet between individuals) and no sharing of personal items will be mandated in the bench area.
Teams will have until three days before the first preseason game to send the NFL their list of individuals with field access. Those individuals (stadium operations, field crews, league/club game day assistants, club staff, network and other on-field media) must wear face coverings at all times and remain outside of a yellow dotted line, which will run between between the 30-yard lines and be at least 10 feet behind the bench area.
Any person with that access who responds to a questionnaire suggesting he or she may have COVID-19, or records a temperature above 100.4, will not be allowed to report to the stadium.
Additionally, home teams must stay at hotels the night before games and report to the stadium via bus. Arrival times between the two teams will be staggered. The protocol also outlines disinfecting policies of the locker and training rooms.
Players from opposing teams will not be allowed to be within six feet of each other after the game, meaning "jersey exchanges shall be prohibited."
Some players, such as Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, took issue with the postgame requirement.
thats DAMN SILLY bro.. 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/QDOwn2G3bc
This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. Players can go engage in a full contact game and do it safely. However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game. 😂🤣😂 https://t.co/fWefsUSVDc
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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