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New restrictions in Santa Clara may force 49ers to practice and play elsewhere

The Thanksgiving night matchup between the Ravens and the Steelers was moved to Sunday afternoon because of a COVID-19 outbreak within Baltimore.

The San Francisco 49ers practice and play in Santa Clara. But they may not be able to for the rest of this season.

Santa Clara County released new COVID-19 restrictions today that include a ban on all contact sports and a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling into the region from more than 150 miles away.

County Counsel James Williams told the San Jose Mercury News that the new restrictions apply to both practices and games, and the rules will apply to the 49ers.

Obviously, a ban on contact sports would mean no NFL games can be played in the county, and it would also likely prevent the 49ers from practicing at their facility. And the 14-day quarantine after traveling would make it impossible for visiting teams to play road games against the 49ers, and impossible for the 49ers to return to their practice facility after playing on the road.

The new rules go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, so the 49ers should be home from Sunday’s road game against the Rams in time to avoid the mandatory quarantine. But beyond that, it’s hard to see how the 49ers can remain in Santa Clara, where they have home games against Buffalo on December 7 and against Washington on December 13. Unless there’s a way for the 49ers and the NFL to be granted an exception to the rules, the 49ers may have to find a new home.