The National Football League and its players association promised a new set of COVID-19 protocols Saturday amid spiking cases that caused the league to postpone three games this weekend, including a Los Angeles Rams game.
“The NFL and NFLPA have been engaged with our medical advisors to address the emergence of the new Omicron variant and how to stop the spread to ensure we keep everyone safe and complete the remainder of the season responsibly. The intensive protocols implemented last week and the rescheduling of three games were designed to stop the transmission of the virus and play this week’s games safely,” a joint statement released by the NFL and NFLPA said. “After this weekend’s games, we have agreed to put into place a new set of protocols, which will include a more targeted testing plan, more flexibility for players to attend meetings virtually and also a high-risk player opt-out for the remainder of the season.”
Sunday’s Los Angeles Rams game against the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium was postponed to Tuesday by the NFL due to COVID-19 issues.
The league also postponed two other games because of COVID issues, with the Las Vegas Raiders-Cleveland Browns game scheduled for Saturday moved to Monday, and Sunday’s scheduled game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles rescheduled for Tuesday.
Kickoff for the rescheduled Seahawks-Rams game will be 4 p.m. Tuesday.
“We have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the NFLPA as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league,” the NFL announced in a statement.
The Rams had more than 20 players on the league’s reserve/COVID list, including such major names as Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. On Friday, the team announced that guard Jamil Demby, defensive back Grant Haley, tight end Tyler Higbee and linebacker Justin Lawler were the latest players added to the list.
On Saturday, the team removed Beckham, defensive back Dont’e Deayon, running back Darrell Henderson Jr., linebacker Justin Hollins, tight end Brycen Hopkins and tackle Alaric Jackson from the list.
Vaccinated players can return to the squad if they test negative twice at least 24 hours apart. Unvaccinated players must remain isolated for 10 days.
According to the Rams, tickets purchased for the originally scheduled Sunday game will still be honored for Tuesday’s game. No refunds will be given, but fans who cannot make it are able to transfer, re-sell or donate their tickets on Account Manager.
Because of weekday rush-hour traffic, the Rams are encouraging fans to arrive at least 60 minutes prior to kickoff to ensure efficient entry. The Pink Zone parking lot will open at 11 a.m., while all other parking lots will open at noon. All stadium gates will open at 2 p.m.
Additionally, new rules announced by the Los Angeles County Department of Health for outdoor mega-events will be effective for the game. All attendees age 5 and older are required to provide proof of full vaccination, a negative COVID antigen test within 24 hours of the event, or a negative PCR test within 48 hours of the event.
Attendees can get tested on-site at SoFi Stadium at their own expense for $59. Testing will be available near Entry 5 and Entry 9 starting at noon, and may take over 30 minutes for a result.