The NFL’s biggest COVID-19 obstacle.
The National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers franchise has a huge problem. Santa Clara County, California health officials have issued an order that will not allow contact sports in the county for the next three weeks because of the rise in COVID-19 cases and the worry that there might not be enough hospital beds to treat patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. The order would also prevent the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks from practicing but that is not a problem because the NHL season is on hold until at least January 1st. Also impacted are Stanford and San Jose State’s football teams. The San Francisco 49ers business is scheduled to host two home games during the three-week ban. Those games were scheduled for December 7th against Buffalo and December 13th with Washington coming to Santa Clara. The NFL has been able to move games around but 49ers practice sessions may be more difficult to reschedule.
The typical NFL work week for teams does not start until Wednesday following a Sunday game. San Francisco is playing against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, California on Sunday and the team will return home after the game. That becomes important in that Santa Clara County also is issuing a two-week mandatory quarantine for travelers who are coming to the area from more than 150 miles outside of the county’s borders. The team will be back by Monday’s 12:01 AM deadline for travel. On Monday players report to the team’s training facility for treatments and are off on Tuesday. There could be some options in San Francisco and Oakland for practices and games but those municipalities could impose some COVID-19 restrictions as well. The NFL product, games, is non-essential. This is a major obstacle for the NFL in its quest to finish the season.