There will be no postseason bubbles for NFL teams.
The NFL informed league clubs on Tuesday night that teams can not require players and staff members to stay at a hotel during the playoffs other than the night prior to a game in a memo obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The choice to forego local bubbles was recommended by the league and NFL Players Association medical experts based on COVID-19 testing data, Pelissero added. The NFL and NFLPA are pleased with numbers related to the coronavirus and therefore sticking “with what works” for the postseason, Pelissero added.
“This decision is based upon an analysis of the frequency of positive cases in the league compared to the risk of significant spread among players and staff gathered for an extensive period of time at one hotel,” the memo reads.
Teams may still provide hotel rooms for players who choose to stay in one, but medical experts for the league and NFLPA were never in favor of the idea of a central playoff bubble (one in which multiple teams are stationed in one area) for multiple reasons and now there will be no local bubbles, either, Pelissero added.
The league and NFLPA maintain confidence in their protocols, with the most recent week of COVID-19 testing showing a .09% positivity rate among players and a .11% rate among personnel.
There will be further discussion on health and safety as it relates to the coronavirus in Wednesday’s virtual owners meeting.
Along with the announcement on postseason housing, the league made further updates on protocols related to returning to play. Every NFL team continues to operate under the league’s COVID-19 intensive protocol for the remainder of the season.