The NHL and National Hockey League Players’ Association have returned to tighter COVID-19 safety measures.
The league confirmed Saturday morning that it was adopting, effective immediately, new rules amid the emergence of the Omicron variant and the explosion of positive test results, particularly in the past few days.
Measures include restrictions on indoor dining while on the road, wearing masks while in club facilities and during travel, including when on buses, planes and at the hotel, and daily testing, expect on days off.
Additional pre-game testing may be implemented on a case-by-case basis, when an outbreak occurs within a team.
Players are urged to wear N95, KN95 or surgical masks rather than cloth masks. Club-organized holiday parties are not permitted, and all members of a team’s travelling group are prohibited from signing autographs or engaging with fans.
The announcement comes a day after the league shut down the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers because of COVID-19 concerns. The Flames have 32 people in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol: 19 players and 13 club employees.
These enhanced measures, meant both to prevent the contraction or transmission of COVID-19 and early detection of positive cases, will remain in effect through the holiday season, and will be re-evaluated by Jan. 7 by the NHL and NHLPA.