With the 2020 NFL season looming on the horizon, fans wonder what safety protocols will be put in place to keep fans and athletes safe. Despite the global pandemic, the NFL has been adamant about maintaining a full and regular schedule.

There’s good and bad about the plans that the NFL has in place. Unlike the NBA and NHL, the NFL is not working on a bubble concept. The bubble concept requires all active participants (athletes, coaches, support personnel) to centered around one location – after they’ve all tested negative for the virus.

It’s concerning that the NFL isn’t trying to follow a similar path. However, there is some good news. Early testing is showing a low number of positive results throughout the teams and their networks.

Maintaining A Reserve List

One of the first things the NFL put into place was to establish a reserve list. This is in case a member tests positive for Covid-19. If/when that happens, the athlete is removed from the roster, and a replacement is found from the list.

Additionally, any athlete (or coach, support personnel, etc.) exposed to somebody with a positive result must go through the same process. This is how the NFL hopes to maintain relatively low positive cases across the board.

Testing Positive

Once a positive test has appeared, players much self-quarantine for ten days (or more). They must also submit to additional testing. While that is occurring, any players who came in contact with the positive player must also self-quarantine for five-plus days.

BioReference Laboratories will be in charge of handling all the testing for the NFL, with individual testing facilities available for each time. Each facility has everything needed for daily screenings.

If a player receives a positive result but is asymptomatic, they must: wait ten days since the positive test, or wait for five days, plus receive two negative tests. For players that are both positive and showing symptoms, they must isolate for ten days and wait an additional 72 hours beyond when symptoms went away.

Additional Measures

The NFL has also put into place several other measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. All meetings must be held either virtually or outdoors. 

Cafeterias will be serving on a to-go basis until further notice, and players are recommended to avoid the use of locker rooms. Likewise, players not actively on the field must have a mask.

Additionally, there will be limitations on Postgame interactions, which include the wearing of masks. Finally, a maximum of 62 players will be allowed to travel for a game, and they will be required to wear masks.

The Good News

The good news about these plans is that the NFL is hoping that there will be little to no rescheduling of games. Furthermore, except for preseason games, there will be no cancellations on the docket. 

This means that fans will still have an opportunity to enjoy the sport as close to normal as possible. However, it’s worth noting that most stadiums will be running at a reduced capacity for fans.