The NFL could soon follow in the path of the NBA and allow teams to reopen their facilities among the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike the NBA, those in power within the NFL want all 32 teams to be able to open their facilities. It’s not going to be simply about teams located in states that have eased stay-at-home restrictions.
It’s in this that the league released a memo laying out certain protocols for facilities to reopen. According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, there’s a ton of layers to this.
- Consent from local and state government officials: This is no small thing. While some states have eased stay-at-home restrictions, others have decided to continue with their current policies. That includes California. Will teams in these states get permission from officials to reopen facilities when by and large society itself is shut down?
- Establishment of a club infection response team: This one is tricky in that large-scale COVID-19 testing has not been made available to the general public. The NFL has joined other leagues in indicating that they will not take up tests that could be used for sectors of the population who are at more risk. Outside of the infectious aspect of the virus, this is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.
- Social distancing: This will obviously be part of American society until a vaccine is created. While the NFL can’t do anything when it comes to the players in a game, it can socially distance at facilities. The standards here seem to be similar to the NBA.
- Temperature screening: This sounds great on the surface. However, a large amount of those who are actually carrying COVID-19 are asymptomatic. That will likely include athletes who are in the prime of the physical health. I am not too sure how this is going to help prevent the spread of the virus.
With the NFL set to release its 2020 schedule on Thursday, the league is hoping to keep with its current calendar. Getting facilities back open in some form would be the first step in what promises to be a long, drawn-out process.