Expands Bench Space, Mask Mandates

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The NFL is adding more requirements to its coronavirus policies, including enlarging space on sidelines benches and adding new mask mandates.

According to ESPN, the bench on the sidelines will now stretch 60 yards and will be situated between the 20-yard lines. With the increased length, the league aims to encourage social distancing among the players sitting on the sidelines.

In addition, the league will require masks in all situations in the locker room, and on or off the field, during all pre and post-game activities. Masks are also “strongly” recommended for players sitting on the bench if they are “not participating on the field or about to enter the game.”

In a recent call with the press, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills explained the policy update.

“What we are trying to convey and say is that masks can prevent you from becoming a high-risk contact,” Sills said on the call. “This is our goal. So it’s in [everyone’s] best interest to wear a mask for their protection and to reduce their exposure. … We believe that mask use, whether it’s in the locker room or on the sideline, it just reduces your chance of becoming a high-risk contact should someone turn positive.”

The league will also ban any in-person meetings among staffers once a positive test is reported in the front offices or among the coaching staff.

One of the most recent positive test reports came from Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey who announced on Twitter on Sunday that he was handed a positive test.

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