CFL Players’ Association shares comprehensive COVID-19 return to play requirements with players

Photo edit: 3DownNation

The Canadian Football League Players’ Association has shared the COVID-19 orders athletes must follow for returning to play in 2021.

Union president Solomon Elimimian and the executive staff sent a memo to its membership outlining the details.

The CFL and CFLPA submitted our application for a return to play in February 2021. At this time, we must follow that document as it is approved by the government,” Elimimian wrote.

As discussed in our team sessions, we are currently working with the CFL and the government to loosen restrictions to align with the various amendments the provinces are making. We expect this to happen soon after training camp as we enter the second week of the regular season.

Things can change based on a number of factors:
o The presence of disease in the community.
o Variants of concern.
o Vaccination status.
o The experiences during training camp (compliance, outbreaks, etc.)
o Public health regulation.

Daily requirements
• Submit screening app every morning and monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms.
• Do not come to work if you feel sick.
• Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer where possible.
• Physically distance from others at all times.
• Wear masks except when in your home.

At home and in the community
• Where possible players will live by themselves or with their immediate family. If you are sharing a place with a teammate, you will always respect physical distancing at home.
• Have your groceries delivered to your house or curbside pick-up to avoid contact with the public whenever possible.
• Limit going out to restaurants, and if you do it should only be with your immediate family or the person(s) you are living with during the season. Only visit establishments that allow for physical distancing and eat outside wherever possible.
• Take-out and delivery are preferred for all consumer items/meals/groceries/etc.
• It is prohibited at this time to go to a social establishment or any place that does not have seating where physical distancing can be maintained at all times, which includes all night clubs, casinos, and restaurant lounges after 10 p.m.

Stadium and practice facility
• Must wear mask at all times unless involved in physical activity during practice/game/warmups.
• Required to wear Trace Safe tracking chips at all times to monitor close contact situations while at a CFL facility. (Except when on the field.)
• Physical distance of two metres or six feet must be maintained during all meetings, in locker rooms, in treatment areas and on the sideline at all times.
• Come to work, go to work. Arrive no earlier than 20 minutes as required and leave when your work is done.
• Workouts can only be done at club facilities or a facility pre-approved by the CFL.
• Cannot be involved in outdoor group training that is not run by the team.
• Sharing water bottles/towels is strictly prohibited.

Away team travel
• Leaving the hotel for any reason, other then for reasons directed by club medical staff is prohibited. You can go for walks outside of the hotel but are not permitted to visit any establishments of any kind.
• Face coverings and physical distancing are always required.
• Club provided transportation must be used at all times.
• No visitors are permitted anywhere in the hotel, including but not limited to personal rooms, lobbies, and common areas.
• Players and staff are not permitted to visit each others’ rooms, and meetings may only be held virtually on the road or rooms that maintain physical distance at all times.
• Meals (if provided) will be at the direction of club staff in specific meal rooms within the hotel or your hotel room.
• If you order in meals from Skip the Dishes or Uber eats you will be instructed on the protocol for picking up your order in the hotel lobby.
• Eating at hotel restaurants is prohibited unless approved by the Club or CFL.
• Directional signage and safety protocols such as elevator restrictions will be communicated and must be followed. Wherever possible use the stairwells to your rooms.

The players’ union will soon introduce a CFLPA COVID-19 compliance officer from each team as franchises enter the seven-day training camp quarantine.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.