Players must arrive for training sessions in their kit as part of updated coronavirus protocols emailed to all clubs by the EFL.
The measures essentially revert to steps taken upon the outbreak of the virus and clubs face an increased risk of being sanctioned if found to be in breach of the guidelines.
Indoor facilities including changing rooms and canteens must be closed, gymnasiums and other indoor areas used only if well-ventilated, and clubs have been asked to consider using separate or multiple vehicles to travel to fixtures.
The measures come amid soaring Covid-19 rates and an increasing number of postponements, with eight games across Leagues One and Two called off in last Tuesday’s schedule alone.
On Friday it was announced that Lincoln’s manager, Michael Appleton, and goalkeeping coach Steve Croudson had tested positive for coronavirus. Testing of all those who have been in close contact have returned negative results and the club’s League One game at AFC Wimbledon will be played without Appleton and Croudson in the dugout.
Individual circumstances, including financial implications, prevent the EFL presenting the protocols as uniformly unbreachable, but it is understood it will clamp down more keenly on affected clubs seen to have flouted its guidelines.
Each postponement for coronavirus issues is subject to an investigation by the league, with the potential for fines or points deductions if clubs are found not to have sufficient cause for calling off fixtures or to have contravened best practice.
Investigations into coronavirus postponements are yet to be concluded, but some clubs have expressed concern over the pressure to fulfil fixtures. Rotherham called two games off over Christmas after five players were affected by the virus, but their manager, Paul Warne, said they felt obliged to play Tuesday’s fixture against Barnsley, for which they named only six players on the bench.
Warne said: “I was advised that if we did not play the game, there would be retribution because I am going against medical advice. There was a fine with a possibility of a points deduction, which I do not want hanging over our heads.”
Returning to the themebefore Saturday’s match against Cardiff, Warne said: “The EFL rules have changed again so now we are having to take three buses to every game. No one is allowed in the gym, no indoor stuff, [and] the lads have to take their kit home and come in it to training.”