The NHLPA and NHL announced today in a joint press release that they’re issuing a set of modifications to the league’s COVID-19 protocol, which will come into effect for each team immediately following their last game before the league’s All-Star break in the schedule.
The five-point list of major edits to the league’s protocol is as follows:
- The NHL/NHLPA recommend that players receive a booster vaccine as soon as they become available to them. However, at this time, no booster vaccine is required by the league for a player to participate in game action.
- The league is removing enhanced safety measures put in place in December as the surge of Omicron cases in the United States begins to decrease. They are reverting back to the protocols that were in place at the start of the season, with only a few small changes.
- One of those changes is the mask requirements for players. Cloth masks will no longer be permitted as appropriate face coverings; only N95 or KN95 masks will be accepted.
- Fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to undergo daily testing.
- The testing requirement for close contacts has been lifted.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is still a baseline requirement that teams and players are required to follow to fulfill league responsibilities. Local and federal regulations will always hold precedent over the NHL’s protocol.
With the testing requirement being lifted for fully vaccinated individuals, expect the number of players entering COVID protocol on a daily basis to continue to dwindle. Nearly every NHL player is fully vaccinated, and it’s likely that only symptomatic individuals will now enter protocol and be unavailable to teams.