The San Francisco 49ers announced on Monday that they will play at least two of their remaining home games in Arizona, and that could mean players, coaches and staff members will have to spend a lot of time away from their families.
Santa Clara County, home of the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium, announced new COVID-19 protocols recently that effectively placed a three-week ban on contact sports at any level. With the NFL not exempt, the Niners will now play their Week 13 and Week 14 games at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, which is the home of the Cardinals.
In addition to banning contact sports for three weeks, health officials have also mandated a 14-day quarantine period in place for anyone entering Santa Clara County. As Jay Glazer of FOX Sports notes, that means Niners players and staffers may not be able to return to the San Francisco area for quite some time. They play their two “home games” in Arizona the next two weeks before traveling to Dallas and then facing the Cardinals in Arizona in Week 16. The 49ers are scheduled to face the Seahawks at home in Week 17, and that game is not being moved at this point.
It’s unclear if Santa Clara County will make exceptions for players and team members to travel back to San Francisco if they’re being tested for COVID-19. Glazer is of the belief that they will remain away from the area for the next month at least.
The NFL has had its hands full in recent weeks trying to reschedule games and now change the location of some. That has led to some frustration among players, though there isn’t a whole lot league officials can do if they want to play a full season.