DENVER — In a memo sent out Wednesday night, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell advised clubs of protocols required to reopen their facilities by May 15.
For safety and competitive balance reasons, team facilities were closed in mid March as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation. It led to a virtual draft last month with coaches, scouts and executives making selections from their homes while following social distancing guidelines. With states beginning to ease stay-at-home orders, including most counties in Colorado on Friday, the NFL wants protocols in place before staff members return to work.
The protocols include temperature checks of employees and visitors, the appointment of an infection control officer, the wearing of cloth masks and proper social distancing. Goodell wants the plan in place so teams are prepared to formally open by May 15, if permitted by local officials. The Broncos, along with the other pro sports teams, have been in contact with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis for weeks regarding how to proceed.
Per Goodell's memo, players will not be allowed to return to the facilities in the first phase unless they are rehabbing an injury. And there will be a cap of 75 employees and no more than 50% of the staff per day in the building. Those employees returning will have their temperature checked before entering the building, and it cannot exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Teams were told not to comment publicly about the plans for the 2020 season because of the ongoing uncertainty.
"It (only) confuses our fans and business partners, complicates the operations of other clubs, and distracts from the careful planning that is needed," Goodell's memo read. "It is impossible to project what the next few months will bring.”
Players have been participating in virtual OTAs through zoom meetings. Rookies will begin their OTAs this weekend as the league and players association continue to talk about the steps required for players to return to the facility, training camp and games.
"It doesn’t make sense to play any games unless it’s completely, 100 percent safe for us to go out there," Broncos safety Kareem Jackson said Tuesday. "Talking with some of the guys, it doesn’t make sense to play any games unless it’s 100 percent safe."