The NFL has ordered its teams to shut down all in-person team activities on Monday and Tuesday in a memo from league commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Friday evening.
In the memo, the NFL cites concerns about an increasing COVID-19 positivity rate across the country and an understanding that many players and staff members celebrated Thanksgiving with guests from out-of-town. Medical authorities have widely feared a post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 case spike.
The NFL stopped short of having the shutdown apply to games and practices. All games Sunday, the day before the shutdown, will proceed, as will Monday night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles and Tuesday’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The NFL informed clubs all in-person team activities will be prohibited this coming Monday and Tuesday — a mitigation measure in light of rising COVID-19 positivity rates across the country and many players and staff having guests for Thanksgiving. The ban doesn’t include games. pic.twitter.com/ObytXZz5Sg
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 28, 2020
“All activities must be conducted virtually [on Monday and Tuesday], with the exception of essential medical treatment and rehabilitation under the supervision of a team physician or athletic trainer,” Goodell said in the memo. “Medical staff and players must continue to comply with the rules outlined in the intensive protocol. Further, players and staff should be reminded that gatherings of any sort outside of the facility are prohibited.”
Essentially, the NFL seems to be hoping that any employee who caught COVID-19 on Thanksgiving won’t become infectious until Monday, unless they’re playing on Monday night or in a game rescheduled from Thanksgiving due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
NFL still dealing with fallout of Ravens’ outbreak
The NFL’s shutdown occurs with more than a dozen Ravens players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including starting quarterback Lamar Jackson.
As things stand, the Ravens will play the 10-0 Steelers at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday while missing several starters, five days after the game was originally scheduled to be held.
The Ravens’ outbreak appears to be slowing as of Friday after only one player, who is on the practice squad, tested positive that day. It’s still the league’s latest example of the headaches that emerge when trying to play through a pandemic.
Hopefully, shutting down for two days can help the NFL avoid a similar situation in the future.
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