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In memo to teams, NFL commissioner outlines protocols for safe reopening of facilities

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
In a memo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell outlined the protocols for the safe reopening of team facilities.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

In a memo to all 32 NFL clubs, Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday outlined the protocols for the safe reopening of team facilities.

“The past few months have been among the most uncertain times that any of us has experienced,” Goodell wrote in the memo, obtained by The Times. “It is impossible to project what the next few months will bring. Uninformed commentary that speculates on how individual clubs or the league will address a range of hypothetical contingencies serves no constructive purpose … and instead distracts from the careful planning that is needed right now.”

Goodell added, “An important step in the process of planning for the 2020 season involves the reopening of club facilities,” which were closed last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protocols are intended to allow for a safe and phased reopening, and were developed in coordination with a host of health experts, among them Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, the Duke University infectious disease physicians, and others.

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The NFL is moving its 2020 international games to the U.S. due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Jaguars, Falcons, Dolphins and Cardinals will host.

The first phase would involve a number of non-player personnel — initially 50% of non-player employees, up to 75 people, on a single day, providing state and local regulations allow that many. No players would be allowed in the facility except to continue a course of therapy and rehabilitation that was underway when the headquarters were closed.

Each club is required to form an Infection Response Team, which includes a local physician with expertise in common infectious disease principles, a club Infection Control Officer, the team’s head trainer and physician, and the human resources director.

The facilities must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and everyone must practice social distancing and wear protective face masks. Employees will be encouraged to take their temperatures routinely at home before departing for the facility, and will be screened daily at the workplace.

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Goodell said each club should take steps to have the protocols in place by May 15 in anticipation of being advised when team facilities will formally reopen.


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