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NFL, union agree to loosen COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated players

June 16 (UPI) -- The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for training camp and preseason games, maintaining tight restrictions on unvaccinated players but loosening almost all of them for players who are fully vaccinated.

In a memo distributed Wednesday that was obtained by ESPN, NFL Media and the Boston Globe, the league outlined a set of protocols that will effectively create two teams within each franchise.

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According to the memo, any player who isn't fully vaccinated -- defined as someone who is at least two weeks past their final shot -- will continue to be subject to daily testing. Those individuals also must wear masks and practice physical distancing, and they will be required to quarantine if exposure to someone with COVID-19 occurs.

Other policies for non-vaccinated players include: significant travel restrictions, including relegation to a separate team plane; prohibitions on eating meals with teammates and attending sponsorship activities and a ban on gathering with three or more players away from team facilities, among other rules.

Vaccinated players will face none of those restrictions. Those players will be required to be tested once every two weeks.

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Teams also received additional details on fan and media access related to training camp and preseason matchups as well as fine information for players who violate protocols.

The memo informed teams to keep fans at least 20 feet away from players and key staff members during camp, meaning no autographs or photographs will be allowed. Fully vaccinated media members will have access to distanced in-person interviews, but locker room access will be restricted to team and NFL Media, or NFL Films.

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