New York became the latest state to give its professional sports teams the go-ahead to return to their team facilities for workouts after a 10-week pause because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
When will the District of Columbia follow suit?
Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she would tell us on Tuesday if an anticipated move to Phase One of a reopening would occur as hoped by May 29, which is Friday. New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order applied immediately. But NBA and NHL teams are still finalizing details about what a return would look like.
Phase one for D.C. would allow hair salons and barber shops to reopen by appointment only, restaurants could have expanded outdoor seating, there would be curbside delivery for florists and even bookstores.
But Phase one is far from a wide-open economy. Mass gatherings would be limited to 10 people. While parks and golf courses and tennis courts would be open again, that wouldn’t apply to gyms or museums or playgrounds yet.
The instructions for area pro sports teams – the Wizards, Capitals, Redskins, Ravens, Orioles, Nationals, D.C. United, Mystics, Spirit – are somewhat vague.
In Phase One, the teams provide the D.C. government with guidelines proposed by their own leagues. It does allow for practice facilities to open – with some limitations. Spectators are not allowed, but teams could start one-on-one workouts at their facilities and graduate to multiple player workouts and practices.
Phase Two would allow teams to return to their facilities, but with stringent, physical distancing and enough personal protective equipment (PPE). There would be no fans and only 50 personnel allowed on site to broadcast the games. In Phase Three, that number would jump to 250 personnel, but still no fans.
The District’s regulations don’t apply to all of the local teams, however. The Wizards, Nationals and Mystics practice in Washington. But the Redskins and Capitals are headquartered in Virginia and the Ravens and Orioles, of course, are in Maryland with the Spirit there, too.
The NBA and MLS have given the go-ahead to players to return to their facilities in states where that is allowed. The NBA is in talks to reopen its season in Orlando in late July at the Walt Disney World Resort. Most MLB teams will likely begin a period of training at their spring facilities in Florida and Arizona.
The Redskins have opened their headquarters facility in Ashburn to some team employees and staff but not to players – unless they are rehabbing injuries - or coaches. The NFL normally would be holding OTAs and minicamps at this time of year, but those have been put on hold and the league has mandated no more than 50% of staff in the facility.
The Ravens are still abiding by Maryland’s stay-at-home order. They, too, are allowed to have rehabbing players at their Under Armour Performance Center facility along with medical personnel and a small number of team employees.
Meanwhile, the Capitals are still waiting on word from the NHL for the go-ahead to bring players back to the team facility in Arlington. The NHL and NHLPA are still working through the details of a 24-team Stanley Cup playoff tournament.
Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE COVID-19 NEWS: