Reports surfaced earlier this week that MLB plans to relax COVID-19 health and safety protocols during the upcoming regular season for clubs that have at least 85% of their Tier 1 players vaccinated. 

According to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, the NFL and NFL Players Association are embracing similar policies. 

“It is expected that the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols will be amended in the coming months to eliminate a number of significant restrictions for vaccinated individuals, such as the need to participate in daily testing, quarantine periods due to close contact with an infected individual and/or refraining from social gatherings among other vaccinated individuals,” the league announced in a memo shared by Alper. “It is also anticipated that clubs that achieve a certain rate of vaccination among its tiered staff and players may be permitted to relax restrictions that apply to meetings, mealtime and use of locker rooms.” 

Alper added that teams have been instructed to provide a list of players, coaches and other personnel fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in advance of potential relaxed restrictions.

As of the end of March, none of the so-called “big four” North American professional sports leagues are mandating that players and other employees receive vaccine shots to participate in preseason activities or regular-season games. Thus far, league and franchise executives are hoping promises of relaxed restrictions will lead to a majority of players and other personnel willingly accepting vaccines this spring and/or summer. 

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