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Sports Facilities Confront Coronavirus Challenges


By Dan Hounsell Emergency Preparedness
lambeau field

While much of the focus of reopening the nation after the COVID-19 lockdown has fallen on K-12 schools, universities and commercial office buildings, one market facing perhaps the most complex challenges – sports facilities – has laid out a plan detailing the impact that another potential coronavirus outbreak will have on buildings, occupants and activities

The NFL and the NFL Players Association sent a planner to the 32 teams recently outlining procedures for the full reopening of their practice facilities, which were closed because of the pandemic.

In a lengthy four-part memo to the clubs written by commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the NFLPA, the league described protocols focusing on screening, testing, infection prevention and treatment for COVID-19, according to ESPN. Also included were: instructions on proper facility access; cleaning and disinfecting; physical distancing; hygiene, health education and medical services; food preparation; supplies; and team travel.

A separate entrance to the facility for specific employees and occupant is required. If a separate entrance is not available, a designated time for use of a single entrance is mandated, and that entrance must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use.

Physical distancing is another major challenge. To keep players at least 6 feet apart requires redesigning everything from locker, meeting and weight rooms to cafeterias. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be mandatory.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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