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New NFL COVID protocols could affect Packers' training camp traditions

While fans can attend training camp practices, NFL protocols still prohibit fans from interacting directly with players.
Packers bikes 2019
Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 17:39:40-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — While Packers fans will be allowed to attend training camp practices this summer, several traditions - such as the DreamDrive bike ride - could still be on hold.

In a memo to teams released Wednesday, the NFL said all fans must remain at least 20 feet away from players and staff and are not permitted to interact with players at any time.

This likely means the longstanding tradition of players biking to practice alongside young fans will be on hold for a second straight summer. It could also mean fans will not be allowed to receive autographs as players come and go from practices.

The memo said fans must adhere to physical distancing requirements, though it did not specify if that means distancing from other fans or just from players and staff.

The Packers plan to allow full fan capacity for all games and events, including training camp practices, this season. In its announcement last week, the team noted that "some elements of the traditional Training Camp experience may be different than in previous years due to possible changes in protocols established by the NFL and NFL Players Association," perhaps anticipating this announcement.

The new protocols also allow fully vaccinated players to live essentially normal lives, while unvaccinated players will be subject to many of the same protocols as last season.

Unvaccinated players must continue to get daily testing, wear masks and practice physical distancing. They won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates, can’t participate in media or marketing activities while traveling, aren’t permitted to use the sauna or steam room and may not leave the team hotel or interact with people outside the team while traveling.

Vaccinated players will not have any of those restrictions, according to the memo sent to teams which was obtained by The Associated Press.