NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday.
In a memo to the teams, Goodell said the restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8, when the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities.
The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. Several teams have suggested there could be a competitive disadvantage in keeping those dates and have cited the inability to perform physical exams on draft prospects. But the draft remains on schedule and the league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas.
Goodell told the teams only the following employees can be at team facilities for the next two weeks:
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— Trainers or doctors who are providing ongoing medical treatment to players.
— Directors of facilities, security personnel and independent contracts who maintain physical security of the facilities.
— Technology personnel necessary to maintain security and operational capabilities of a team’s IT network that enables remote work by team staff.
“During this time,” Goodell wrote, “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.”