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NFL memo announces updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021 draft rooms

Two weeks after the NFL informed clubs they can return to their draft rooms for April's annual talent selection, the league added another key detail.

As the vaccination effort continues across the United States, the NFL is preparing to take a step toward normalcy with the 2021 draft. The league sent a memo to clubs Thursday detailing a relaxation on masking and distancing requirements if all individuals in the draft room are fully vaccinated, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.

In order to be fully vaccinated, the individual must have received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and completed the requisite two-week post-shot period, or have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and completed the requisite two-week post-shot period, per the memo.

The memo also allows for a maximum of 10 fully vaccinated individuals in the draft room. If all individuals are fully vaccinated, masks will not be required, physical distancing measures will be relaxed, and eating and drinking will be permissible.

The league also stated draft rooms in which any non-vaccinated personnel are present will be subject to a maximum limit of 20 individuals, and those individuals must comply with the protocols outlined in the March 12 memo, which requires physical distancing and mask wearing, and prohibits eating and drinking.

All draft room plans must be submitted to the league by Friday for review and approval by Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer. Clubs are also permitted to use off-site, third-party facilities with prior approval.

The Thursday memo updates the previous requirements, which had called for all individuals to be masked and distanced, regardless of vaccination status.

Sills also told NFL Network's Judy Battista during Thursday's NFL Now that the league and the NFLPA currently do not have plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for players. Sills says the stance will be to relay in vaccine education and to encourage players to get shots, but to not make it mandatory.

The 2021 NFL Draft will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 29 and run through May 1.

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