It was officially announced on Friday, July 24 that the NFL and the NFLPA have approved an agreement that resolves all outstanding issues relating to the opening of training camps and start of the 2020 season.
"We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the CDC, and many state and local public health officials. The season will undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl."
Here's an outline of what 49ers fans can expect as the league prepares for the 2020 season.
The report date for training camp remains uniform across the league on July 28th, however, rookies and selected players were permitted to report earlier. (The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs began camp on Saturday due to their scheduled Thursday night season opener on Sept. 10.) Players and personnel must adhere to a comprehensive testing program.
Players, coaches and staff who attend training camp will be limited to defined tiers in the Club Facility Protocols. No friends, family or non-essential staff will be permitted.
For both player and fan safety, the league has ruled to forgo fan attendance at training camps in 2020.
All tiered individuals are required to have two negative COVID tests, before officially entering the team facility. They are required to self-isolate in between each testing period. Following their second negative test, players may enter the facility and proceed to get physicals.
After the initial two tests, players will be tested every day for the next two weeks. The turnaround on test results, will be 24 hours, per NFL.com.
"Doctors for the league and the players union have said repeatedly that they expect testing protocols to change throughout the season, as doctors learn more about the virus and its transmission and as testing develops further."
Without the presence of OTAs and minicamp this year due to COVID-19, the structure of camp will be a "mashup" of the standard offseason program and training camp.
According NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, training camp is set to be comprised of 20 days of a ramp-up period and a maximum of 14 padded practices.
Per NFL.com: "From Aug. 3 through 11, players will have an acclimation period -- 60 minutes in the weight room and 60 minutes of on-field conditioning. No conditioning tests may be administered during this period. In addition to strength-and-conditioning work, teams can have 60-minute walk-throughs on each of the first four days and 75-minute walk-throughs on each of the last four days. Aug. 8 is a mandatory off day.
"A gradual ramp-up period runs from Aug. 12 through 16, with Aug. 15 being a mandatory off day. The first practice can be 90 minutes, with 15-minute increases each day, up to a maximum of 120 minutes. Players are allowed to be on the field 3.5 hours daily, so the remainder of time will be spent in walk-throughs. On the 12th and 13th, players can wear helmets. On the 14th and 16th, they can wear helmets and shells but have no live contact.
"Finally, from Aug. 17 through Sept. 6, 14 padded practices will be allowed."
In addition to team facilities undergoing massive changes to adhere to social distancing mandates, team personnel are required to wear high-tech contact-tracing monitors while at the facility. These devices will help the league immediately determine who came into close contact with players who test positive, making it easier to isolate and test them, per NFL.com
Additionally, players are prohibited to engage in high-risk conduct off the field, not limited to indoor night clubs or bars, or indoor events with more than 15 people. Teams can discipline a player if he violates those rules.
The league is also recommending players wear new mouth shield face masks - a shield made of clear plastic designed to block a direct path of a droplet, while also allowing for breathing and verbal communication.
The current 90-man roster must be cut down to 80 players, beginning on Aug. 16. Only 80 players are allowed in the facility at a time. Teams with more than 80 players beginning at the start of camp may have to split workouts.
Per NFL.com, practice squads will have 16 players, four of which can be protected weekly from being acquired by another team.
Positive Tests for Players
According to Rapoport, the league will implement a temporary Injured Reserve for players who test positive for COVID-19. Players who test positive are subject to medical clearance prior to their return to the active roster. Teams are allowed to promote a practice squad player to fill the roster spot and can return that player to the practice squad without waivers. IR moves are without a number of restrictions to allow "desired and necessary roster flexibility."
2020 Regular Season
Clubs are expected to play in their home stadiums. The only time Clubs will be permitted to relocate a game would be due to state and/or local restrictions or in the event of other prohibited reasons outside the team's control, including natural disasters.
To ensure the health and safety of 49ers fans, players, coaches, staff and the greater community, and to comply with state and local restrictions, the 49ers may not be able to host fans in a full or limited capacity this season. As such, all San Francisco 49ers single game ticket purchases for home games at Levi's® Stadium will be cancelled for 2020 and the tickets will no longer be valid.
In the event fans are permitted at Levi's® Stadium this season, tickets will be made available on a game by game basis to season ticket members.
Clubs are permitted to have fans in the stadium pending any state and local government restrictions and are subject to CDC guidelines and physical distancing protocols relevant to NFL Stadium Operations guidelines. If fans are permitted, they will be required to wear masks at all times other than when actively eating or drinking.
Ticketmaster and SeatGeek platforms will refund all previously completed transactions for all games.
Please view the refund policy of the 49ers approved marketplaces here or contact the marketplace from which you purchased the tickets. In the event we are able to host fans at Levi's® Stadium this season, tickets will be made available on a game-by-game basis at a later date, as capacity permits, with priority access provided to 49ers Season Ticket Members.
We are coordinating with local, state, and federal officials, medical experts, as well as the NFL, to ensure a safe start to the 2020 season. Our focus is the health and safety of our players, coaches, patrons, and our community. We understand this is a dynamic situation and if needed, will make adjustments in conjunction with officials and the league.