The NFL has mandated that only fully vaccinated personnel, with a maximum of 50 people, will have access to locker rooms while players are present on game days.
In a memo sent to the 32 teams and obtained by The Associated Press, the policy becomes effective immediately. The personnel covered by the policy includes coaches, athletic trainers, equipment staffers, one general manager, one team security representative, three club communications media workers and one clubhouse support staffer.
Players are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but the NFL has reported that more than 90% of them are.
“Non-club-affiliated media will not be permitted in the locker room,” said the memo dated Wednesday. “In the event a player needs medical attention in the locker room or if a club elects to conduct drug and steroid specimen collections on game day, a medical professional or specimen collector ... may access the players’ locker room without being included in the maximum of 50 individuals with locker room access, provided that they are fully vaccinated.”
One team COVID-19 protocol coordinator may also access the locker room for managing Kinexon devices (which are used for contact tracing, social distancing and a person's whereabouts) or to perform disinfection required by league protocols without counting against the maximum of 50. All such individuals must be fully vaccinated.
Teams conclude the three-game preseason this weekend. The regular season begins Sept. 9 with Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay hosting Dallas. The first full slate of games is Sept. 12.
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Barry Wilner, The Associated Press