NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 NFL teams at the end of the week last week that should start to get the wheels turning after a two-month “hiatus” (delay, whatever you want to call it). The memo states that franchises can begin reopening their facilities with strict guidelines beginning Tuesday, May 19 as long as state and local regulations permit them to do so.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided the memo Friday, and Goodell wrote the following in part in his announcement of the news:
“Clubs may reopen their facilities beginning on May 19 if they are permitted to do so under governing state and local regulations, are in compliance with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction, and have implemented the protocols that were developed by [NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills] and distributed to all clubs on May 6.”
All facilities were ordered to be shut down beginning March 25 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A return to team facilities (again, if their state permits) will involve numerous restrictions, per the memo.
For starters, teams cannot have more than 50 percent of their personnel (and a max of 75 people) inside the facility at the same time. A franchise can spread out over multiple locations, but the max number of people allowed still stays at 75 over all locations combined.
To make sure the competitive advantages of the league stay equal among all teams, coaches are currently not allowed to return to facilities. The 49ers, Rams, Chargers, and Giants are among some of the teams that will not be opening on May 19 due to restrictions from their states. Any instance or interaction with the virus must be reported to the league as soon as there is knowledge of activity.
The NFL has most likely looked at the NBA and how they’ve approached reopening their facilities, as basketball started to make the move in some states on Friday, May 8. Slowly, but surely, we’re getting sports back.