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Under coronavirus restrictions, Jaguars return to TIAA Bank Field

NFL is cautioning teams in moving forward

Jaguars begin reopening stadium
Jaguars begin reopening stadium

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars begin a slow return to work today, but don’t expect to catch a glimpse of players at TIAA Bank Field just yet.

The NFL announced that teams could begin allowing employees to return to team facilities on Tuesday, provided local regulations allowed them to as the country attempts its move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved the state to a full phase 1 reopening this week, which allowed places like restaurants to have 50% capacity and gyms to open back up.

A Jaguars spokesperson posted a thread on Twitter explaining how the Jaguars are pacing themselves in the moving forward process.

The team said it plans to continue its virtual offseason program in the short term while beginning phase 1 of its reopening on May 26. The Jaguars’ newly established Infectious Response Team, headed up by team physician Kevin Kaplan, internist Mike Yorio and infectious disease physician Ken Meyer, has put in place screening procedures as employees prepare to return.

No more than 75 employees and no more than 50% of the football staff, will be permitted at TIAA Bank Field beginning May 26. Returning is on a voluntary basis and masks must be worn by all employees unless they are alone in their office.

Currently, players and coaches are not permitted to be at TIAA Bank Field. The only players who are allowed to be there are those who are undergoing medical rehabilitation.

“The reopening of the Jaguars office under established NFL guidelines represents a positive next step toward the return of Jaguars football,” said Jaguars president Mark Lamping.

“The Jaguars have remained open for business throughout the last several weeks, and I’m exceptionally proud of how our employees transitioned to virtual collaboration. They maintained the same high standard of customer service our fans have come to expect and have found creative ways to keep fans informed, engaged, active and entertained. Just as we will do for our fans, players and coaches, the Jaguars will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of our staff.”

The NFL calendar has gotten a shakeup with the COVID-19 pandemic.

May is usually a month for teams, with rookie minicamp the big on-premises event. But that has all been done virtually this year. July is the next big on-location time for teams as training camps tend to start in mid-July.

Jacksonville’s first preseason week is Aug. 13-17 against Carolina. The regular season opener is Sept. 13 at home against the Colts. The NFL has said that it plans on starting its season on time, but will be prepared to “make adjustments,” said league spokesperson Brian McCarthy.

About the Authors:

Anchors the 4:30 a.m. newscast, provides traffic updates throughout the rest of The Morning Show, then reports on events in the community.

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.