The health and safety protocols established by the league and its players association have proven to be successful amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the NFL will continue them into the regular season.
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to extend daily COVID-19 testing for players and other Tier 1 and 2 individuals until further notice, with the exception of game day, according to a memo sent to all 32 clubs, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.
The pregame test will occur on the morning before game day (i.e., Saturday before a Sunday game), Pelissero added.
The memo solves one outstanding question about how the regular season would operate after a preseason that included zero games but also saw very minuscule amounts of confirmed positive cases across the league. Browns center and NFLPA president JC Tretter had been outspoken for weeks about the importance of daily testing throughout the season. With the upcoming increase in weekly travel, the union can feel more confident about the safety of the season with daily testing.
Face coverings, use of which has become widespread in recent months, are strongly recommended for all players on the sidelines, but they won't be required except where state and local regulations require it. Currently, only two NFL stadiums fall under that category: Buffalo and San Francisco, per Pelissero.
The pregame coin toss will no longer feature multiple team representatives. Teams will send just one representative to midfield, where face coverings will be required, Pelissero added.
Finally, same-day travel to away games will not be permitted, despite recent discussion, per Pelissero.