A day after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or face coverings in most settings, the NFL has followed suit. According to ProFootballTalk, the league issued a memo to all 32 teams on Friday indicating it is changing mask requirements ahead of the 2021 season. To be specific, it will no longer require any vaccinated players, coaches or other team staff to wear masks at club facilities, either indoors or outdoors.
In other words, anyone who's received a COVID-19 vaccine -- and is at least two weeks past their final dose -- is free to go maskless during and leading up to the 2021 season. That's a major departure from the 2020 campaign, when masks were one of many requirements as part of pandemic protocols. Anyone who's not vaccinated, per PFT, will still be required to wear face coverings.
The only reason mask-wearing would still be enforced for vaccinated players and staff is if local guidelines differ from those designated by the NFL. Other changes to COVID-19 protocols are also expected this offseason, PFT reports.
"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday, as CBS News reported, adding that fully vaccinated people do not need to worry about entering spaces with people who may or may not be vaccinated. Such guidelines, if implemented league-wide, would likely also pave the way for a removal of social-distancing measures around the NFL.