It remains unknown if the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the NFL season the way it has other sports leagues, but one Miami Dolphins official is keeping a sunny outlook for the future.
Tom Garfinkel, president and CEO of the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, addressed concerns that the league may not be able to hold games with fans in attendance. Assuming sufficient testing is made available to all involved, Garfinkel believes that fans should be able to enjoy games within stadiums.
“First of all, I think everybody’s safety is going to come first, keeping everybody safe and healthy,” Garfinkel said during an Instagram live video. “And then, as resources become available, who should they go to first? Obviously, health care workers, people who are sick, people that need them. But I think if we get in a situation where come September, August where at a minimum, we can test people that need to put a game on and make sure everybody is safe and [tests] negative — you think of players, coaches, referees, cameramen, that sort of thing and it’s conceivable you could put on games without any fans if you have to.”
The executive went on to say that development of COVID-19 testing kits that deliver results within minutes could prove especially crucial in welcoming fans back into the stadiums. Should those tests become widely available, Garfinkel said it was “very possible” to conduct the season safely and monitor the health of all those coming together.
Despite potential testing improvements, Garfinkel emphasized the importance of maintaining proper distancing guidelines to control the virus’ outbreak. In hard-hit areas like New York and LA, government and health officials said recent figures signal a nearing plateau, though warned residents not to let up just yet on social distancing.
“I think the last couple days from all the data and the charts I’ve seen — and I’m not a scientist or medical professional, and I don’t think anybody really knows — but from the data that I’m looking at that I’ve seen it seems like the curve over the last few days has started to flatten and hopefully that trend continues,” Garfinkel said. “But I think we need to get to where we need to be.”