The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will begin the deliberate process of returning to work at the AdventHealth Training Center on Wednesday.
The Buccaneers will follow a very detailed policy constructed from CDC guidelines, NFL requirements and public health guidance in reopening their headquarters. Gregory Skaggs, the team's director of athletic performance and now its infection control officer, has worked with team officials to produce a plan that puts the top priority on the health and safety of the players, coaches and staff members.
"Our plan has been modeled after what has been found to be successful in the health care industry. Measures such as screening, physical distancing, mask wearing, increased hygiene, and a supportive culture" said Buccaneers Director of Athlete Performance Gregory Skaggs. "We worked with local medical infectious disease experts to devise a comprehensive plan focused on maintaining the health and safety of our employees and their families."
A limited number of employees whose jobs are more difficult to perform from home will begin working at the AdventHealth Training Center in Phase One of the plan, with other groups returning at later times in the coming months. There is no established timetable yet for the return of players to the facility or the practice field.
Those who do return to team headquarters will find a new environment designed to reduce person-to-person contact and minimize the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus. This environment will include directional hallways and stairwells, limits on the number of people who can gather in specific spaces and extensive cleaning and spacing procedures.
Buccaneer employees will also practice social distancing while at the office, including the wearing of masks, the usage of virtual meetings and adherence to at least six feet of distance from colleagues.
Those reporting to work at the AdventHealth Training Center will be required to follow a protocol that begins with an at-home health assessment, using list of questions provided by the team regarding potential COVID-19 symptoms. Upon arrival at team headquarters, employees will undergo a daily temperature screening at one of the two designated points of entry, and are advised not to come to the office if they are not feeling well or have potentially come in contact with someone who has contracted the virus.
At this time, the Buccaneers' office will not be open to visitors, including vendors and the media. There will also be restrictions regarding contact between players and coaches and non-football employees.
Skaggs and a diligent Buccaneers task force have also refitted Buccaneers headquarters with a number of safety measures designed to reduce the risk of contact or spread of the virus. These include spacing efforts in restrooms and break rooms, alternate meal set-ups, extensive signage and multiple sanitization stations.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing for the "new normal" as they reopen the doors to their headquarters and look forward to the progression of the 2020 NFL season. This week marks the first step in that process.