NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all NFL teams outlining how each facility may reopen.
The plan is a template for how the league might start to return to normal. It includes the creation of a infectious response team, daily screening of employees, a path to working with government officials, notes on social distancing, and much more.
All NFL facilities have been closed since March 25 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Goodell hopes that the steps outlined would “allow for a safe and phased reopening” around the league.
“The first phase would involve a limited number of non-player personnel – initially 50 percent of your non-player employees (up to a total of 75) on any single day unless state or local regulations require a lower number,” the statement read. “Clubs would decide which employees could return to the facility and when once facilities reopen. No players would be permitted in the facility except to continue a course of therapy and rehabilitation that was underway when facilities were initially closed.
The memo also indicated that each team should have these initial protocols in place by the end of next week.
“While these protocols have been carefully developed and reflect best practices, they can also be adapted and supplemented to ensure compliance with any state and local public health requirements,” the statement added. “Clubs should take steps to have these protocols in place by Friday, May 15 in anticipation of being advised when club facilities will formally reopen.
“We are actively working on the next phase of reopening, which will involve both greater numbers of staff and players as well. We are actively working with the NFLPA on the protocols that would apply to player access to facilities and expect to have those protocols developed fairly soon.”
One of the biggest changes is the creation of an Infection Response Team (IRT) for each club, which will be headed by an Infection Control Officer (ICO). Per Goodell, the club’s head athletic trainer may serve as ICO, but the team has discretion to select another staff member — so long as that person has the background and ability to perform all listed duties.
“The Infection Control Officer (ICO) shall be identified as the first point of contact for any club employee with new symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches and pains, sore throat, chills, loss of smell and/or loss of taste), exposure to a known COVID-19 infected patient, or the development of new medical condition that confers a high risk of complications from COVID-19 infection (Asthma, diabetes, COPD or other lung disease, autoimmune disease, new use of oral steroids or other immunotherapy, new use of chemotherapy or newly diagnosed cancer).”
Christopher Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.