New York – The National Hockey League will relax COVID-19 safety protocols for fully vaccinated teams and individuals in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the league announced Saturday.
The NHL and its players union have reached agreement on modifications for the vaccinated regarding face masks, testing, quarantines, team meetings and travel and social gatherings.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine while a team is considered fully vaccinated when 85% of the people in its travel party are fully vaccinated.
“I think it’ll give a boost of energy to all involved,” New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.
“That will be an ease for players, like, ‘Hey, this has been worth it.’ We’ve been grinding, grinding, and now we’re seeing things change a bit.
“I can’t put it into percentages or anything, but it has been a grind for a lot of the players in the protocols.”
Referees and linesmen qualify for the relaxed measures once all members of a team are vaccinated.
Anyone choosing not to be vaccinated must abide by prior COVID-19 protocols.
The NHL can withdraw the modifications for several reasons, including a team COVID-19 outbreak.
No start date for the NHL playoffs has been announced but a U.S. television network promoted a playoff game telecast for next Saturday.
Among the changes, those fully vaccinated no longer must follow quarantine rules after virus exposure, will have eased testing rules unless they return a positive result and are allowed in social gatherings of up to eight fully vaccinated individuals without masking or social distancing.
Vaccinated players can have other vaccinated hotel room guests and commute together and eat meals outdoors at restaurants.
Fully vaccinated teams will no longer have to wear masks away from the public in game or practice facilities and can have team meetings and gatherings without masking or social distancing from others who have been vaccinated.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.