As part of this phase, the team said it has worked closely with area health officials to determine the best time to return to work at the facility. The team added it could have opened its offices on May 19 but wanted to wait until it had policies in place that could come as close as possible to guaranteeing its employees’ safety.
The Browns also said the reopening would still be partial and not every employee would be returning to the facility. They added they will be looking at increasing the number of employees that can come to work over the next few weeks.
Statement from EVP/COO Dave Jenkins on Phase 1 of our return to facilities beginning June 1: pic.twitter.com/r8wonYWcBy
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 29, 2020
As Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report pointed out, the Browns’ Phase 1 plan seems to be similar to the NFL’s overall phased reopening plan. That plan allowed teams to reopen their facilities, with a few caveats. The league told teams it could have no more than 50 percent, or 75 people, in attendance at the facilities. The NFL also told teams there wouldn’t be any coaches allowed to be part of the staff at their facilities in order to “ensure equity among all 32 clubs.” Players aren’t allowed to be in attendance either, other than those who are undergoing treatment for previous injuries. Finally, any team that reopened their facilities must immediately report any instances of COVID-19 infections.
The NFL shut down all its facilities on March 25 as the coronavirus pandemic started to spread across the country. The league continued to do business, though everything was online rather than in person. The online business included the 2020 NFL Draft, which ended up generating the highest television ratings for the draft in decades.
As various states have begun easing shutdown restrictions, the NFL has done the same. While the league allowed teams to start returning to work on May 19, very few franchises jumped at the chance. Some front offices, including the Arizona Cardinals, decided they needed just another week before they got back to business. The Browns waited an additional week before they decided it was time for employees to return to First Energy Stadium.
While there are guidelines in place for what happens next, the NFL has not said when it plans to enter into Phase 2 of its reopening. Some believe that move could come at the end of June or early July. For now, the league plans on opening fall camps and the regular season on its normal schedule.