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NFL announces closure of all facilities around the country amid coronavirus concerns

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Staying open was creating an unfair advantage.

The NFL has announced that all team facilities will be closed at 6 p.m. EDT on Wednesday due to concerns about the impact of the coronavirus. The memo from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was very clear that all football-related staff members need to leave the building and not return until at least April 8th, when they will re-evaluate.

The move is in response to some teams’ concerns that an unfair advantage was developing in different parts of the country with the response to COVID-19. In New York, for example, 100% of the non-essential work force was told to work from home by the governor while other states are still allowing some non-essential employees to go to work.

Last week, it was announced that facilities were closed to players unless they were receiving medical treatment. That barred NFL Draft prospect visits and free-agent trips. This order goes a lot further.

Only athletic trainers who are providing treatment to players, building security, and IT professionals are going to be allowed in the buildings during the duration of this order. All football-related personnel are expected to work from home.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the NFL has continued conducting business. The free-agency tampering window preceded the opening of the 2020 league year. While college scouting departments were pulled off the road and barred from bringing in players, the 2020 NFL Draft is still scheduled for late April.

Team conditioning programs are certainly going to be shortened or cancelled. How the rest of the offseason calendar progresses is an unknown at this point, as the situation has changed dramatically over the last two weeks and can change at any point.