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N.H.L. Announces Plan for Returning – The New York Times

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More than two and a half months after shutting down because of the coronavirus outbreak, the National Hockey League became the largest North American professional sports league to announce definitive plans for a return.

Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the N.H.L., announced on Tuesday that 24 of the 31 teams, the top 12 in the standings for each conference, will return to contest the playoffs when medically cleared. Official training camps would resume no earlier than July 1. The regular season was officially declared complete.

The seven teams whose seasons have ended are: the Devils, the Buffalo Sabres, the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks, the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Red Wings.

“We remain focused on the safety of our players, coaches, support staff and arena personnel,” Bettman said. “We will not set dates, choose sites or begin to play until we know it is appropriate and prudent and are approved to do so.”

The N.H.L. issued a memo on Monday that detailed testing and safety protocols for all personnel returning to team facilities for voluntary practices, beginning in early June, pending local shutdown ordinances’ being lifted.

Following that, Bettman outlined what the league is calling Phase 3, a conference-based round-robin playoff, hosted in two hub cities. The cities will be chosen from a list that includes Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Edmonton, Alberta; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Pittsburgh; and Toronto.

Only 50 members of each team’s personnel will be allowed in the hub city.

The last N.H.L. games were played on March 11, the same night that Rudy Gobert of the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus while his team was in Oklahoma City to play the Thunder. That game was canceled, and most sports leagues’ events, including Major League Baseball’s spring training, were called off the next day.

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  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 26, 2020

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      Over 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


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Some sports have trickled back already, including NASCAR, and soccer and baseball in some countries. The PGA Tour announced plans to resume play on June 11 without fans in attendance and with testing procedures for golfers and caddies.

The National Football League is scheduled to start as planned in September, but the major American sports leagues that would have been in season now — men’s and women’s professional basketball and soccer, M.L.B. and the N.H.L. — have faced daunting challenges with safety measures and logistics.

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