In a memo sent to 32 teams, the NFL established a guideline on how teams should reopen their practice facilities. All practice facilities were forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the league is preparing these facilities as plans to resume operations are in place.
The memo was approved by the NFLA Players Association. The memo focuses mainly on how to properly screen and test players for possible virus infection. On top of that, the memo also set guidelines with regards to the treatment and prevention of disease.
Still, there is no concrete plan for how the NFL will resume operations. For now, the league is mostly concerned with protocols that will govern its game time once it resumes. Also, the guidelines target how to practice facilities should operate in times of a pandemic.
Only players that are rehabilitating injuries are allowed to access these practice facilities. While this might not be a big development, it is just one step towards totally opening it to the rest of the players. The NFLPA is also informing its members about hastily returning to these practice facilities.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces late in March that all team facilities will be closed. While some teams have slowly opened their facilities, it is only for important operations. Last week, the league approved the return of members of the coaching staff, but only if the local rules allow it.
Mr. Goodell further said that the protocols being put in place are being checked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a statement, he said:
“No set of protocols can eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, nor ensure that the disease itself will be mild.”
Meanwhile, there is still no confirmation as to when the league will officially return. For now, the main focus is to establish safety protocols that will guide the league once it officially returns. These safety protocols include the prohibition of the sharing of drinking bottles and towels.
There are also plans to restrict fans from entering the stadium. Instead, games will be broadcast over several platforms. With regard to this, there are some suggestions that fans will be allowed but should follow social distancing.
The NFL is considering resuming operations within the foreseeable future. However, the most important aspect right now is safety.
Image courtesy of HENCE THE BOOM/Unsplash
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