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Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank to Pay Hourly Employees Amid Coronavirus

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2020

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Jason Behnken/Associated Press

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has committed to maintaining the pay of his hourly employees throughout any shutdowns in response to the spread of Covid-19.

Blank, who also owns Major League Soccer franchise Atlanta United, will keep salaries in place for those dependant on hourly wages, according to Falcons president Rich McKay.

McKay told Jason Butt of The Athletic (h/t Nick Shook of the NFL's official website): "We've tried to over-communicate at a time where there's no question people have personal angst and anxiety. You've got to be empathetic towards it because it's real."

McKay also provided further explanation on why Blank's decision to continue pay is important: "Some work one event, some work two events, some work all events. We're working through all those details as we speak. We'll give it to you when we finish it and hopefully we will finish it within the next day."

Shook noted how Blank has acted for those working under the umbrella of The Blank Family of Businesses following decisions taken by the Falcons to help slow the spread of the virus.

Those measures include stopping business travel for scouts and members of the coaching staff, usually a crucial part of a team's offseason plans, particularly with the 2020 NFL draft scheduled for Thursday, April 23, while free agency officially opens its doors on March 18.

The Falcons have also opted to shut team facilities, a closure set to last until Friday, March 27.

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MLS matches have already been put on hold for the foreseeable future, with international friendlies following suit, while various sporting authorities across the USA respond to changing events.

There have been over 152,400 cases of coronavirus diagnosed across the globe since the outbreak began, according to information from the World Health Organisation (h/t CNN).

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