With the NFL requiring teams to go into intensive protocol, here’s how the Patriots will be affected.
With Week 11 of the NFL season kicking off on Thursday night, the league has taken matters into its own hands to issue a mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 amid the ongoing surge of positive cases around the country.
The directive requires every team to enter intensive protocol for the remainder of the season starting on Saturday. The good news, if you can even call it that, is that almost every team in the league has conducted their operations under these protocols due to a positive test, so it shouldn’t cause much of a problem.
In fact, according to NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy, 28 of the 32 organizations have been forced into intensive protocol so far this season, and 16 have done so on multiple occasions. This is clearly the right call by the league, as these preemptive measures have reduced close contact traces by more than 50%.
So, with all of this in mind, how exactly are the New England Patriots affected?
Essentially, the Patriots must hold all of their meetings virtually. If they want to hold a meting outside or in a practice facility, they must submit a request to hold that meeting and disclose the following information:
- Reason for meeting
- Those attending
- An organized entry/exit plan to avoid clustering
During these indoor/outdoor gatherings, all members of the team — including players, coaching staff and trainers — must wear masks and maintain social distancing guidelines. On the practice field, however, players may remove their face coverings but can only do so if they are a minimum of six feet apart from the closest person in their proximity.
For the sake of time, we’re not going to dive into a complete breakdown of the protocols, but the other noteworthy details include a maximum of 15 team members (10 players, five coaches) being permitted inside the weight room at one time. On top of that, teams must have the results of PCR tests the day before any players are permitted to enter the practice facility.
Fans in New England will remember that the Patriots entered intensive protocols earlier in the season after quarterback Cam Newton contracted the virus. The subsequent contact tracing required the likes of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, running back Sony Michel, offensive lineman James Ferentz and defensive tackles Bill Murray and Byron Cowart to be placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
We all know how much of a headache that was to navigate, so let’s hope the Patriots (and their opponents) follow all of these protocols and avoid any positive cases for the remainder of the season.