NFL facilities reopen after coronavirus shutdown with limited operations

Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons were among first teams to open

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A small number of NFL franchises reopened their team facilities with limited operations Tuesday as states around the country slowly unwind restrictions tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave the league’s 32 teams permission to restart operations as long as they are in compliance with guidance from state and local officials. The Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons were among the first teams to open their facilities.

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“We’ve spent the entire quarantine period preparing to reopen,” the Colts said in a statement, “… but it will be very gradual and deliberate. And of course we’re taking steps to make sure we’re in compliance with state and local regulations, and NFL and CDC guidelines.”

At present, at least 11 franchises, including teams located in New York and California, are unable to reopen due to local regulations. Several other teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles, opted not to reopen Tuesday.

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Teams that were able to resume operations have to adhere to NFL-imposed limits on operations. No more than 75 employees are permitted inside the facility at a time, and coaching staffs are banned until further notice. Only players who are rehabbing injuries are allowed inside.

All NFL franchises have designated “Infection Control Officers” to lead preparations at their facilities. Any cases of COVID-19 must be reported to the league office.

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“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 a memo to teams last week. “After we implement this first phase and as more states and localities enact policies that allow more club facilities to reopen, I expect that additional staff, likely including coaching staff, will be allowed to return to club facilities in a relatively short time.”

NFL teams are expected to be limited to virtual meetings through late June. At present, league officials expect the 2020 season to begin as scheduled this fall.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.