The Browns will reopen their buildings for business Monday.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell allowed teams to return to their facilities May 19, but the Browns took two more weeks to ensure a safe environment.
“We targeted June 1 as the start date for Phase 1 of our employee return to Berea and FirstEnergy Stadium,” executive vice president/chief operating officer Dave Jenkins said Friday in a statement. “Since early March, we have worked closely with medical experts at University Hospitals to discuss COVID-19 and implement best practices and comprehensive hygiene protocols at both facilities that emphasize the health and well-being of our employees, their families and the entire community.”
The first stage of reopening, according to league rules, permits a maximum of 75 employees at a team’s facilities. That’s the total number across all buildings. For the Browns, that’s headquarters in Berea and the stadium in Cleveland.
“We are proud of our entire staff’s collective efforts and productivity while working from home, and our return to the building marks an important step as we continue to diligently prepare for the 2020 season,” Jenkins said. “In addition to adhering to all league and government guidelines, we will continue to evaluate COVID-19 developments with University Hospitals while creating safe environments for when additional Browns employees are permitted to return.”
Browns employees have been working from home since the NFL ordered buildings closed March 25. The league went ahead with the draft in April and offseason programs — virtually.
First-year coach Kevin Stefanski was stuck in Minnesota until recently, and new defensive coordinator Joe Woods said Thursday he’s hoping to arrive in town soon.
The NFL continues to forbid coaches and players in facilities — unless they were receiving treatment before March 25 — but Goodell wrote in a memo this week he expects coaches to be allowed to return next week. It’s contingent on all 32 teams being allowed to open their facilities within local and state guidelines, because the league wants to ensure competitive balance.