By Howard Balzer
As the NFL continues to navigate through uncharted waters with the draft four weeks away, the league announced that all club facilities would close today (March 25) at 6 p.m. local time with a few exceptions.
Following is the advisory that commissioner Roger Goodeel sent to all teams on Tuesday:
Over the past week, every NFL club has suspended normal business operations in response to the advice of medical experts and public health authorities. Last week, we agreed with the NFLPA to close all facilities to players other than those receiving medical treatment and rehabilitation. In the succeeding days, clubs took further steps to respond to current conditions and directed all but a limited number of staff to work remotely. In part, these changes were prompted by state or local government orders to “stay at home” but in many other cases, clubs changed their practices to contribute to the national effort to employ remote work options as an essential element to reducing the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus and the risk of exposure.
To ensure that all clubs operate on a level playing field, and that the NFL continues to conduct itself in a responsible way at this time, it is appropriate to outline certain principles that will apply during the current period. These principles have been reviewed with and endorsed by the Competition Committee and will remain in effect until further notice.
All club facilities will remain closed to all personnel, subject to the following exceptions:
- 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.
These guidelines will take effect at 6 p.m. local time tomorrow, March 25. 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. 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.
The challenges we face are not unique – many businesses and individuals throughout the country are experiencing and addressing similar issues. Please be assured that the NFL is well positioned to meet these operational challenges as we prepare to offer our fans and the country an outstanding 2020 NFL season.