The San Francisco 49ers won’t have a home for a while as Santa Clara County, home of the Niners and Levi’s Stadium, issued new COVID-19 guidelines for professional, collegiate, and youth sports on Saturday afternoon.
The new guidelines include a three-week ban on any contact sports taking place in the county and a 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling to the county from more than 150 miles away. The rules start Monday.
“All recreational activities that involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household, including all contact sports, will be temporarily prohibited,” the order said via ESPN. “People can continue to engage in outdoor athletics and recreation where social distancing can be maintained at all times.”
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A Spike In COVID-19 Cases
The new ban comes amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in California and the country.
Within the three-week time frame, the 49ers are scheduled to face the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football Dec. 7 and Dec. 13 against the Washington Football Team. According to the rules, the team will have to find a new place to practice and play those games.
“We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s emergency directive,” the 49ers said in a statement. “We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed.”
The 49ers were ahead of the game and planned for this to happen in the offseason as they considered an alternative which included Texas or Arizona. The Niners would share the Cowboys or the Cardinals stadium since there are no scheduling conflicts for the remaining home games.
There are no exceptions to the new guidelines, per James Williams, counsel for Santa Clara County.
“[This] will temporarily suspend activities that require direct physical contact or interaction in Santa Clara,” Williams said. “So, that means that for those teams, they will not be able to play games or have practices where they have direct contact within the county.”
NFL Team Facilities Set to Shutdown
Also starting on Monday, NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell has ordered all teams to shutdown in-person team activities until Wednesday.
COVID-19 cases spiked across the league after Thanksgiving week as many players and staff members celebrated the holiday with guests from out-of-town.
The Baltimore-Steelers game was postponed twice after 12 players, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, tested positive ahead of Turkey Day. Baltimore is now up to 18 players who have tested positive or are considered close contacts. Also, the Broncos will be very shorthanded at quarterback after all three were placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Saturday.
Medical authorities projected this would happen after the holiday season, but I don’t think anyone projected it to be disastrous this quickly.
All games Sunday will still go on and the shut down does not apply to Monday night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles and Tuesday’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.