Bucs Players Will Have Option to Stay in Hotel Before Home Games Amid COVID-19

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 5, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians during an end of the season NFL football news conference Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. The Bucs finished the season with a 7-9 record. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters (h/t Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times) that the team has secured a Tampa hotel for players who wish to self-isolate on the evenings before home games amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In addition, Arians revealed the team has instituted penalties if someone violates "COVID-19 rules and protocols," per Kyle Burger of Tampa's ABC affiliate:

Kyle Burger @kyle_burger

#NFL might not be playing in a "bubble" but Bruce Arians is creating that type of atmosphere. The team has a hotel and "penalties in place for right now" if someone violates COVID-19 rules and protocols. #GoBucs https://t.co/gTptukQDD6

The Buccaneers' training camp is underway, and their season is slated to begin Sunday, Sept. 13 at the New Orleans Saints. Tampa's first home game is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 20 against the Carolina Panthers

The NFL season is scheduled to begin in five weeks amid the pandemic, which has caused over 4.67 million confirmed cases and 154,900 deaths in the United States, per the World Health Organization. A total of 49,151 cases were confirmed Wednesday.

Florida has been hit particularly hard with over 502,000 confirmed cases and 7,627 deaths, per the state department of health. New cases reached a peak of 15,197 on July 10 but fell to 5,495 on Monday, Aug. 3.

Still, Florida is a COVID-19 hot spot, raising the risk for players on the three NFL teams who call the state home.

A total of 60 players have opted out of the NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns, per ESPN.com. No Buccaneers have opted to do so, however.

Ultimately, traversing through the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be a challenge for all 32 teams, leading to franchises making decisions like securing a hotel for self-isolation before games.

With the NFL preseason canceled due to the pandemic, the next game will be the regular-season opener, which will feature the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and visiting Houston Texans.