Could ramped up COVID-19 restrictions force the Rams and Chargers out of their home at SoFi Stadium?
According to a report by Yahoo Sports, the NFL has reached out to both franchises about the possibility of moving their remaining home games and practice facilities outside of California for the remainder of the season due to coronavirus restrictions that could be elevated in coming days.
The discussions come on the heels of the San Francisco 49ers’ move out of Santa Clara County due to the pandemic. The team will be playing its remaining home games in Glendale, Arizona.
According to the Yahoo Sports report, the league has had discussion with the Rams and Chargers in hopes of ensuring the teams have backup plans in place if health restrictions force a move.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced plans to implement a “regional stay-at-home” order in areas that fall below 15% of ICU capacity due to the virus. He said Southern California could meet that threshold in a matter of days, with the order possibly taking effect next week.
The order would not specifically preclude NFL games from being played. According to the state’s website, “entertainment production including professional sports” would be permitted to operate “without live audiences.”
The order, however, would bar gatherings of people from different households, raising questions about how it would be applied to sports franchises for practices, games, meetings and other activities.
One unnamed league source told Yahoo Sports, “The situation is being monitored and how it will impact the rest of the season is a little fluid right now.”
Rams head coach Sean McVay said Thursday he had not heard anything about possible impacts of COVID restrictions on the team.
“Haven’t heard anything of that nature,” McVay said. “I think you would probably know as soon as I do if anything was affected. But we know we’re focused on the Cardinals and don’t anticipate that to be an issue with next week’s game, if that’s what you’re alluding to as well.”
The Rams will play the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday, but are set to take on the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium next Thursday night.
The Chargers will play the Patriots at SoFi Stadium on Sunday afternoon at SoFi.
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