Virtually the entire United States has eased up its “stay at home” restrictions and other measures implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus. From an NFL standpoint, the lockdowns have obviously affected things such as offseason workouts and the ability to use club facilities.
This week, some teams have partially reopened their headquarters, provided that they are under “governing state and local regulations, are in compliance with additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction, and have implemented the protocols that were developed by [NFL Chief Medical Officer] Dr. Sills and distributed to all clubs on May 6,” per Roger Goodell’s league memo.
The Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cincinnati Bengals have all begun phase one of reopening as of Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks’ Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton remains closed.
From the memo, phase one reopening includes the following: (Via NFL.com)
- Teams are not allowed to have more than 50 percent of staff in the facility, and the number cannot exceed 75 people. That total is for all club locations combined.
- No members of the coaching staff are permitted to return to the facility in order to “ensure equity among all 32 clubs.” The strength and conditioning coach may continue work in the facility only if said person “is currently participating in player rehabilitation.”
- No players are allowed in the facility other than those currently undergoing treatment.
- Teams must promptly report any incidence of COVID-19 in the facility.
- Teams must promptly report any change in government regulations.
Washington was the original epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the USA, but they’ve since dropped to 19th in total cases and 35th in rate of positive tests. Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order is in place through the end of May, but gradual re-opening is happening in several smaller, sparsely populated counties.
A Seahawks representative told The News Tribune, “When those orders are lifted and team leadership feels it is appropriate, we will have a phased approach for reopening based on state, local and NFL guidelines.”
In the meantime, the virtual workouts and meetings continue.