The NFL is one step closer to returning, and it may make its season debut on time.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a memo in conjunction with the league and the NFL Players Association that outlined safety precautions in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The league has closed facilities since March, but these outlines would allow for team employees to return for training camp. Here’s what needs to happen before the league can resume activities:
In order for facilities to open, most teams would have to modify their locker rooms to allow for a six-foot distance between locker rooms. They could do this by moving the lockers or by adding additional lockers. Common areas like locker rooms and meeting rooms must also be changed with the help of distance markers and by establishing one-way traffic in hallways and rooms.
Aside from maintaining a safe distance, the team employees must also limit their interactions whenever possible. For example, no more than 15 people can attend a workout at a given time.
When it comes to holding meetings, players and coaches should opt for virtual meetings whenever possible. If employees must have in-person meetings, then those meetings should preferably be held outdoors, which can be safer than having meetings behind closed doors.
Reopening based on tiers
Not every player and coach will be allowed to enter a team’s facilities at the same time. The league and the NFLPA have opted to use a tiered approach in reopening. Tier 1 will include players and staff who need direct access to the athletes, such as some coaches, physicians, and equipment managers. This also comes with some caveats, as no more than 60 staff can be included as part of this tier. They will have full access to restricted areas, such as sidelines and training rooms.
Tier 2 will have the rest of the coaches and personnel enter, as well as front office staff, security, and club communications staff. Unlike Tier 1 employees, Tier 2 staff will only have limited access to restricted areas.
Tier 3 includes staff that do not interact with Tier 1 individuals. Those include stadium or event service employees.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees would also require separate entrances. If this is not possible, the entrances must disinfected before and after every use.
Training camps are scheduled to begin in late July. All games starting with the August 6 Hall of Fame Game, are set to be played as scheduled, barring any change.