49ers news: NFL teams may soon open facilities, but…

Members of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Members of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The 49ers may not be able to open up training camp despite the NFL announcing some teams may be allowed to open up facilities in light of COVID-19.

There’s a possibility the San Francisco 49ers have to kick off their 2020 training camp somewhere else other than outside Levi’s Stadium in Northern California.

This, in spite of an ESPN report released over the weekend NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to all 32 teams suggesting they could open up their practice facilities as soon as Tuesday in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s global impact hopefully slowing.

According to the report, the following guidelines would have to be followed and only if state and local protocols allow:

"The first group of employees allowed back into facilities would include no more than 50% of non-player staff, up to a total of 75 per day. The only players permitted to return would be those who were already rehabilitating injuries prior to the facility closures, and no members of the coaching staff are allowed in the facility. Strength and conditioning coaches participating in player rehab may continue that work in the facility but otherwise are barred until the rest of the coaching staff is allowed to return."

COVID-19 forced the shutdown of team facilities earlier this spring. Many teams, including the 49ers, have held offseason activities remotely.

Yet the Niners may not be able to hold their training camp as they otherwise normally would.

NFL Network’s M.J. Acosta broke down why San Francisco could ultimately end up having to hold its training camp out of state, citing a conversation she had with 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead:

"Armstead talked about how he’s adjusting to this virtual program. And, of course, the changes are all different like the possibility of doing training camp in another state perhaps. When Armstead was asked about that, he said, “Listen, it’s impossible to prepare for that. It’s all one big ‘if.'”They’re just training as hard as they can, paying attention to the playbook and making sure they’re locked in."

General manager John Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco the team was exploring options to hold training camp outside California. And while they’re still preparing to play their first preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Aug. 15, there’s a real possibility the workouts and camp preparations in advance of this first exhibition bout could take place out of state.

One of the reasons why is Santa Clara County’s shelter-in-place orders could easily be extended beyond the initial call for the end of May, potentially reaching into the middle of summer if not longer. California Governor Gavin Newsom has indicated he doesn’t plan on there being large-scale gatherings within the state anytime soon, which would include team practices and the obvious crowds at Levi’s Stadium.

Insofar as exploring out-of-state practice sites, other California-based teams, such as the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, could seek to do something similar. Arizona and Nevada appear to be lifting restrictions much sooner than California, opening up the possibility the 49ers, Chargers and Rams could hold their offseason programs there.

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Regardless of the eventual outcome, one thing is for certain: The 2020 offseason has been one of the more interesting ones in recent memory, and the hope is the Niners are more than capable of weathering the unique challenges associated with it.