NHL Changes COVID-19 Protocols To Be Fully Immunized During Playoffs
The NHL and the NHL Players Association on Saturday announced changes to COVID-19 protocols for the Stanley Cup playoffs for fully vaccinated individuals and teams.
the modifications include Relaxation of restrictions on mask wearing, testing, quarantine, team meetings, social gatherings and team travel (players, coaches, management and staff).
An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. A team is considered fully vaccinated when 85 percent of the individuals in its traveling group are fully vaccinated.
“[What] that will provide us with a fair opportunity to have more interaction, “Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said on Saturday.” When you look at the COVID protocols at this point, by design they’re designed to limit the interaction for obvious reasons. . And our team made an effort to remain vigilant and disciplined, to respect the protocols as well as possible. And the players, again, I think deserve so much credit for their discipline and for sticking with it here. We will continue to stay with her until this team is fully vaccinated. But what I’m going to tell you is that both of our players and of our coaches, our roving staff, we will be well above the 85% threshold.
Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said the changes could be a big boost for players.
“Just to get back to some kind of normalcy,” Brind’Amour said. “The playoffs are tough, just like this season has been, so any kind of diversion of your mind into being around guys will help. We’ll see how that plays out.”
Anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated must continue to adhere to previous COVID-19 protocols.
Protocol changes also apply to on-ice officials once all members of the referee team are fully immunized.
In agreement with the NHLPA, the NHL reserves the right to withdraw changes for a variety of reasons, including if there is a COVID-19 outbreak on the team.
“I can’t put it in percentages or anything, but it’s been tough work for a lot of players in protocols and things,” New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “I think it will be a facility for the players, like ‘Hey, it’s worth it. “We have been crushing, crushing, and now we see things change a bit. I think that will give a boost of energy to everyone involved.”
A start date for the playoffs has not been announced.
Protocol changes for fully vaccinated people include:
– No need to comply with quarantine requirements after exposure to the virus.
– No longer requiring a PCR test on public holidays and no longer requiring a Point of Care (rapid) test on match days unless they did not receive a PCR the day before. But anyone who returns an initial positive test for COVID-19 must enter the positive test protocol regardless of their vaccination status.
– Allow social gatherings of up to eight fully vaccinated people which may include fully vaccinated people not part of the traveling party. Masks and social distancing are no longer needed for these gatherings.
– Allow visits to hotel rooms of other fully vaccinated people.
– Allow eating and drinking in restaurants that offer outdoor meals individually or with other fully vaccinated people.
– Allow two or more fully vaccinated people to commute together without a mask.
– No longer be subject to time limits for arriving at the arena before the match.
Protocol changes for fully vaccinated teams include:
– Fully vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear masks in non-public areas of training and play facilities.
– Teams can resume holding team meetings and social gatherings without fully vaccinated individuals being required to move away socially or wear masks, as long as they are far enough away from unvaccinated individuals.
– Fully vaccinated people can play golf in groups.
– Fully vaccinated people will be allowed to eat on flights and buses.
– Fully vaccinated people can eat together at outdoor team meals with no group size limitation and no masks or social distancing requirements. They can also dine together indoors with no limitation on group size (and no masks or social distancing requirements) if a separate section of the restaurant is secured away from the rest of the restaurant’s patrons and they are served by masked restaurant employees.
– For post-match and training meals, teams may provide buffet meals served by approved staff in a room reserved for fully vaccinated persons. The team should provide a separate dining room for unvaccinated people.
Dan Rosen, NHL.com Senior Editor, contributed to this report