NHL Easing COVID-19 Protocols For Vaccinated Teams During Playoffs

Photo: Nick Wass/AP

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston is reporting that the league will be relaxing the COVID-19 protocols for fully-vaccinated playoff teams, according to a memo circulated on Saturday morning.

According to the league memo, the changes will allow players to gather socially outside of team facilities, eat and drink outdoors at restaurants and spend time in each other’s hotel rooms after not being permitted to do so during the regular season.

The NHL considers a person “fully vaccinated” once two weeks have passed since receiving the final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, face coverings and social distancing will no longer be required for team meetings and social gatherings, and players won’t have to come in off days to receive PCR testing.

The memo states that the changes will only impact U.S.-based teams initially because 85 per cent of a team’s travelling party has to be two weeks beyond the second vaccination in order to qualify. Players on Canadian teams have started to receive their first vaccine doses, according to sources, but none of the teams are in a position to qualify for the amended rules.

Fully vaccinated players will be permitted to use saunas and steam rooms at team facilities, valet park their cars and play golf as a group — provided they don’t enter the clubhouse or other indoor facilities.

The changes came less than three weeks after Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner was critical of the league, saying “we are vaccinated and we are still trapped in a prison.”

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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2 Responses to NHL Easing COVID-19 Protocols For Vaccinated Teams During Playoffs

  1. emudd says:

    It’s about time. I think Lehner probably said what a HUGE number of players had been thinking for a while now. Definitely more like being a prisoner allowed out on work release for a few hours here and there. That said, the problem has been a tough one so you have to sympathize with the league somewhat in terms out how it would look loosing the reigns too quickly should something then go wrong. Even now there is that danger.

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