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The NHL announces new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

With roughly 90 players placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list and over 20 games postponed, the league announced on Thursday some new measures to try and slow the spread of the virus.

Along with a statement from Commissioner Gary Bettman, the new measures are as follows:

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  • The glass behind both benches have to be removed to allow airflow to move more freely away from the benches
  • Players and staff are not permitted to arrive at the arena beyond 1 hour and 45 minutes before puck drop unless to receive treatment before the game and to prepare. Team meetings are to be held virtually as much as possible
  • Locker rooms are to be expanded which would allow the players to practice social distancing. Teams are expected to provide plans of the reconfigurations by February 10th
  • Air cleaners with HEPA are to be added behind the bench to improve air quality in the arena

While these are certainly improvements to the NHL’s plan to ensure the health and safety of the players, there is still plenty of work to be done. Chief among them is to getting test results faster and shifter actions to avoid outbreaks (ex: the Devils-Sabres game from this past Sunday).

We’ll have to wait and see what the league does going forward to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and if these new measures will be enough to settle things down.