(Reuters) – The NFL will allow clubs to reopen their facilities beginning as early as Tuesday if they are permitted to do so under state and local regulations and meet safety protocols previously outlined by the league, the commissioner said on Friday.
Players and coaches will not be allowed to enter the facilities during the first phase of the reopening to ensure equity among the 32 clubs, commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo to team executives on Friday.
“Clubs may otherwise decide which employees may return to the facility, which may include members of the personnel, football operations or football administration staff, equipment staff, medical staff and nutritionists,” the memo said.
Only strength and conditioning coaches currently participating in player rehabilitation can return to the facility and only players currently undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation can enter.
Clubs must promptly report any incidence of COVID-19 in the facility or any change in local government regulations to the league.
“This first phase of reopening is an important step in demonstrating our ability to operate safely and effectively, even in the current environment,” Goodell said in the memo.
“After we implement this first phase, and as more states and localities enact policies that allow more club facilities to reopen, I expect additional staff, likely including coaching staff, will be allowed to return to the club facilities in a relatively short time.”
Goodell said the league is working with the Players Association and its medical teams on developing protocols that could permit a certain number of players to return to club facilities as early as next month.
The NFL is to kick off on Sept. 10 and unveiled its 2020 schedule last week, with the expectation of playing games with fans in the stadiums.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)