The first phase of attempting to return to normalcy this NFL offseason finally can begin Tuesday, May 19.
At least, if a team’s local government and healthcare professionals permit it.
“Clubs may reopen their facilities beginning on May 19 if they are permitted to do so under governing state and local regulations, are in compliance with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction, and have implemented the protocols that were developed by Dr. Sills and distributed to all clubs on May 6,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday said in a memo to team owners and presidents, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
“Clubs unable to meet these criteria on May 19 may reopen their facilities on the earliest date thereafter on which they are able to meet the criteria.”
From the NFL to owners and presidents regarding the potential reopening of facilities amid the Coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/YKpyDQaGvq
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 15, 2020
It won’t be business as usual at first for teams who open back up, though.
At no point yet are teams allowed to have more than 50 percent of its staff in the facilities at once, and must not exceed 75 people at once, even if spread out between multiple locations.
Additionally, none of those 75 staffers are allowed to be members of the coaching staff to “ensure equity among all 32 clubs.” Other than that, each franchise can determine which employees they want back.
And unless a player is undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation, they aren’t allowed back, either. But hopefully that won’t be for long.
“After we implement this first phase, and as more states and localities enact policies that allow more club facilities to reopen, I expect that additional staff, likely including coaching staff, will be allowed to return to club facilities in a relatively short time,” Goodell said.
“In the meantime, we are continuing to work with the NFLPA and our medical teams on developing protocols that could permit a certain number of players to return to club facilities as early as next month.”