NFL Provides Guidelines for Teams Returning to Facilities

The NFL sent a memo to teams on Monday that provided guidelines for the reopening of team facilities, which had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidelines are broken down into access, physical distancing, facility and equipment cleaning and disinfectant, food service, personal protective equipment and hygiene, and compliance with protocols.

“No set of protocols can eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, nor ensure that the disease itself will be mild,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in the memo. “And we should expect that these protocols will change as medical and scientific knowledge of the disease continues to grow. But we believe, along with the NFLPA, that these protocols offer a sound basis for bringing players back into the facilities and moving forward with our planning for the 2020 season.”

The NFLPA sent an email to its members saying that players aren’t required to return to their team facilities yet. However, the NFL and NFLPA are talking about having some players, such as rookies and veterans who changed teams and need a physical, to return on a limited basis before June 26, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. 

All players and staff must wear a mask at all times when at the facility unless it interferes with the performance of athletic activities. Teams must restrict areas used by players and staff and personnel must be broken up into three tiers.

The first tier includes players, coaches, athletic trainers, team physicians, head strength and conditioning coaches and head equipment managers.

The second includes non-playing personnel such as general managers, PR staff, and operations personnel. The third and final tier includes essential facility, stadium, and staff who don’t require close contact with players.

Teams are required to have protocols that allow players and staff to be six feet apart, too.

Locker rooms must be reconfigured to allow six feet between people, workouts can’t have more than 15 people, equipment must be disinfected after every practice or game, and team meetings are required to be held virtually. If an in-person meeting is required, it should be held outside with proper social distancing.

Training camps are scheduled to start in late July. The NFL is still planning to start the season on time on Sept. 10.

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