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NFL tells teams to close their facilities as of Wednesday, with limited exceptions

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responds to questions at

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responds to questions at a press conference during Super Bowl LIV week in Miami on Jan. 29. Credit: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/John G Mabanglo

The NFL has instructed all teams to close their facilities — with limited exceptions — starting Wednesday because of increased concerns about the growing coronavirus pandemic. The league will reassess the situation on April 8, according to a memo sent to the teams by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

While all teams last week suspended normal business operations in response to the recommendations of medical experts to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Goodell has outlined a strict series of restrictions to which teams must adhere.

“All club facilities will remain closed to all personnel, subject to the following exceptions,” he said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Newsday.

“Employees (such as athletic trainers or physicians) who are providing ongoing medical treatment to players.”

“Employees (such as the director of facilities, security personnel or independent contractors) necessary to maintain the physical security of the facility and its contents.”

“Employees (such as technology personnel) necessary to maintain the security and operational capabilities of the club’s IT network to enable remote work by club football and business staff.”

Goodell said the guidelines will take effect at 6 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

“In two weeks, on April 8, we will assess the advice from medical experts and public health authorities to determine whether it is safe and appropriate for facilities to reopen or to extend the period of closure,” Goodell said. “During this time, clubs are free to conduct all normal business operations, including signing players, evaluating draft-eligible prospects, selling tickets, and other activities to prepare for the 2020 season.”

ESPN reported that the NFL’s general manager advisory committee voted to recommend that next month’s draft be pushed back because of difficulties in properly assessing draft-eligible players, including medical checks, but the NFL plans to go ahead with the event, set for April 23-25. The draft was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas but  now is expected to take place in a television studio.

Goodell said in the memo that the league remains “well-positioned to meet these operational challenges as we prepare to offer our fans and the country an outstanding 2020 NFL season.”

New York Sports