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Dolphins first NFL team to unveil contingency plans for when fans are allowed in stadiums

Cars line up at a drive-thru coronavirus testing

Cars line up at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site in front of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on March 30. Credit: AP / Wilfredo Lee

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to shroud the 2020 NFL season in uncertainty, contingency plans are being drawn in the event the league decides to move forward when and if conditions warrant. That includes the possibility of fans attending games this fall.

Dolphins CEO/president Tom Garfinkel unveiled mock-ups of new entrances at Hard Rock Stadium that will incorporate social distancing requirements. He said the team already is looking at different ways for fans to attend games.

“We would have times to come in for security at different gates, so people would be separated out in terms of when they enter the stadium,” Garfinkel said Monday morning on ABC’s "Good Morning America."

“We would exit the stadium much like a church environment, where each row exits so people aren’t filing out all at the same time in a herd.”

In a statement issued to Newsday from MetLife Stadium officials, plans are being drawn up for the resumption of live events, including Jets and Giants games.

“We are developing a variety of contingency plans to host events at MetLife Stadium once we are able to do so,” the statement read. “We are working with the New York Football Giants and the New York Jets to formulate our approach to opening up MetLife Stadium in a safe and efficient manner.”

Due to social distancing guidelines that are expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, attendance at NFL games this season likely will be drastically reduced.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said on several occasions in recent weeks that he expects the league to be able to conduct a full season, which begins on Sept. 10 and concludes with Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Goodell also has said that the league will make modifications if conditions warrant.

“We’re going to do the things we need to do to make sure we’re operating safely, and that includes our fans,” Goodell said last week in an ESPN interview. “Everything’s on the table. We’ve got to be smart. We want to try to do what we can to continue playing football but doing it correctly and safely.”

The NFL is expected to release its schedule this week. The league currently is working on several versions of the schedule in the event contingency plans need to be made, but this week’s release will only include the full schedule.

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