nfl masks fully vaccinated
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

The NFL has officially taken a big step towards a return to normalcy as we work to exit the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, the CDC updated its guidelines in regard to mask-wearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, those who are fully vaccinated “can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

It’s a monstrous step towards a return to normalcy, and because of the significant change, the NFL has altered its own COVID-19 protocols.

In a Friday memo, the league stated that “fully vaccinated tiered staff and players will not be required to wear masks anywhere in the club facility, either indoors or outdoors. An individual is considered ‘fully vaccinated’ if 14 days have passed since the individual received his or her last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (either the single dose of Johnson & Johnson or the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna).”

Individuals who aren’t fully vaccinated, along with individuals who are but haven’t yet cleared the subsequent 14-day period, must continue to wear masks at their respective facilities both indoors and outdoors.

The NFL still isn’t mandating the vaccine for players. But as you can realize with the new protocols, the league continues to incentivize it.

This protocol alteration comes in the midst of rookie minicamps commencing across the league. Expect more protocol changes to potentially be made in the near and/or distant future as the offseason program progresses.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.