The NHL is shortening the standard isolation period for players who test positive for the virus from 10 days to five days, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
New CDC recommendations align with the updated protocols. If a player produces a negative test and is free of symptoms, they can leave isolation after five days. Players are required to wear a mask for five more days after that, except for practices and games.
The new guidance only applies if approved by the local health authorities. The NHL has seven teams in Canada and the issue of shortening isolation periods was more complicated than the NBA and the NFL.
The rules will only apply to teams in the US if the NHL gets exemptions from the Canadian government.
The 10-day isolation requirement is still in place in Canada, where federal and provincial governments have been more strict in their testing and isolation protocols.
Once a player leaves isolation after a positive test, he won't be tested again for 90 days.
The players had been campaigning for looser restrictions.
Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall told reporters that he hoped that they could start moving along with Covid. "I don't think we're going to move past it, but we have to accept that this is going to be part of our lives and hopefully, guys like me don't have to miss 10 days of action when we don't feel any symptoms."
There have been 80 postponements this season of the NHL. There are nine games Tuesday in Canadian markets where the provincial governments will not allow fan attendance at full capacity.
The NHL is confident that it will be able to finish the season by the end of April and have each team play a full schedule, according to Bill Daly.
The NHL and NHLPA agreed to allow teams to have taxi squads until the All-Star break.