Among the many questions surrounding Buccaneers fans — and fans from across the league — is when will the NFL resume operations for the 2020 season. That answer may soon be just around the corner.
The league sent out memos to all 32 teams last week outlining steps to take for teams to resume activities during this COVID-19 pandemic. Via NFL.com, league spokesman Brian McCarthy states teams will have to lean on their local governments for when they can begin to reopen their headquarters.
These protocols have to be in place by this Friday.
This memo outlines the actions clubs will take to have the protocols in place by May 15. After that time, clubs will be advised when facilities could formally reopen. These steps include the clubs reviewing their plans with the appropriate state and local officials. It’s anticipated there will be further discussion on the reopening of facilities at the May 19 league owners virtual meeting.
It’s hard to get a grasp on when the NFL will allow for clubs to begin different phases of reopening. Not every state has reopened and some of those that have are still under some strict guidelines.
For the Bucs, the state of Florida has begun the process of reopening in phases which are still somewhat strict for what may impact NFL clubs like the Buccaneers. For example, things like fitness centers are mandated to remain closed and gatherings of 10 or more people are still prohibited.
However, interestingly enough, the state is allowing for sporting venues to operate albeit without spectators. Perhaps that is what the Buccaneers can use as a case for reopening their facility. The AdventHealth Training Center isn’t necessarily a sporting venue, but maybe there is a gray area within there the team can use to help their case for reopening.
But there is more at risk here. Non-player personnel are of concern because they would be a part of the first phase of any reopenings across the league. Those phases include protocols like wearing face masks and adhering to strict screening methods before entering the building.
“The protocols are intended to allow for a safe and phased reopening,” Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in the memo. “The first phase would involve a number of non-player personnel. ... No players would be permitted in the facility except to continue a course of therapy and rehabilitation that was underway when facilities were initially closed.”
Still, there is uncertainty on the horizon no matter what the league does in the near future. The road ahead is unclear as Goodell stated it’s premature to suggest anything about the 2020 season.
“It is impossible to project what the next few months will bring.”
The NFL will eventually make firm decisions on facilities reopening and on the regular season. Whatever those decisions will be will come with heavy criticism from people on both sides of the fence — for or against the league starting.