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NFL says fans must wear masks at games

An NFL spokesperson confirmed on Twitter that face coverings will be a 'league-wide' requirement.
Credit: AP Photo/Danny Karnik
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) warms up with his helmet decals in Salute to Service before the first half of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Atlanta.

WASHINGTON — As the NFL gets closer to opening training camps and getting back to playing football, the league is announcing some major, yet not surprising, new rules to control the spread of the coronavirus. This time though, it's with fans, as they prepare to watch games in-person. 

Wednesday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed on Twitter that the league will be requiring fans to wear masks at games "league-wide." 

No other official league statement was immediately found. While it's not confirmed that the NFL is planning to allow fans back into stadiums, local laws and enforcement will vary from state to state and city to city. 

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For example, in July it was announced by the New England Patriots that fans will be allowed to attend games at Gillette Stadium if the capacity stays at 20%.  

The NFL Shop is already selling masks at around $20 for a pack of 2 on their website

Player safety has been front and center as training camps are set to reopen. As The Associated Press reports, the NFL believes it is one step closer to addressing player safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. It has come up with face shields for the players’ helmets. 

The face shield was designed by Oakley, which already provides visors for the players. The union’s medical director had suggested that players wear face masks to help control the spread of the virus, but players shot down that idea. The face shield has received a better response than the mask suggestion.

"They had a visor that covers the eyes. What could we do to cover the mouth and nose area?" said Dr. Jeff Crandall, chairman of the NFL's Engineering Committee. "So they came up with a mouth shield that tried to keep the field of view as much as possible; you don't want to block the lower part. You want to promote breathing and not a sense of restriction. You want to maximize comfort."

The Associated Press contributed.

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