The NFL Players Association approved all 32 teams’ Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) plans on Wednesday, a source told Yahoo Sports, clearing the runway for every team to officially get their training camp for 2020 off the ground.
The IDER plans, which have been approved by the league and now the union, outline how every NFL team plans to respond if faced with a COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s a base that must be covered, especially in the wake of Major League Baseball’s troubles. Like the NFL, MLB is not returning to play in a centralized bubble. Baseball is currently dealing with an outbreak less than a week after opening day. It had to cancel several games and contend with multiple headlines about how it handled positive cases as the Miami Marlins reminded the sports world how quickly the virus can spread in a single organization.
The IDER plans offer an outline of how NFL teams plan to contain the spread of COVID-19 if and when an outbreak occurs. Franchises have already started to give glimpses of the new protocols they’ve instituted. The Detroit Lions, for example, tweeted out photos of plexiglas shields around lockers, which have also been spaced out two at a time.
It’s impossible to say now how effective those measures will ultimately prove to be. The Minnesota Vikings, for instance, recently gave NBC’s Peter King a video a tour of their new “COVID-safe” facility only to announce Monday that their head athletic trainer and infection control officer tested positive for the virus.
The NFL has had a steady stream of players who have opted out of the upcoming season due to the highly contagious virus.
The real test for teams could come well into the season — if the NFL makes it that far. As such, it will be important for clubs to be particularly detailed when it comes to safety protocols. That rings especially true on gamedays, when close contact between teams cannot be avoided.
To that end, every team will now be charged with submitting additional details regarding gameday protocols and travel information to the NFLPA, which must review and approve all of those plans before September’s Week 1.
None of those have been approved, a source told Yahoo Sports.
With the season nearing closer, that will prove to be another necessary step toward having professional football in 2020.
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