Get ready for the San Francisco 49ers of Arizona.
The team will leave the Bay Area for the Grand Canyon state on Wednesday and are planning to stay in a hotel there for three weeks — the duration of the contact sports ban in Santa Clara County. The 49ers will practice on fields adjacent to State Farm Stadium, the site of the club’s next two home games against Buffalo and Washington.
“It’s as good of a situation we can have,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said, via Cam Inman of The Mercury News. “I’m pumped they’ve made it so convenient for us.”
But being in a new place means more opportunities for players to catch the COVID-19 virus that prompted the organization’s move in the first place. Shanahan doesn’t plan on having the team’s hotel be a secure bubble, saying players may stay in an apartment and commute if they choose to do so.
“My biggest concern and I told the players, we’re very comfortable with protocols we’re at and we feel pretty safe and how to avoid it. But now we’re going to a new environment,” Shanahan said. “We have the same exact rules but covid is bigger there than here.”
Santa Clara County’s ban on contact sports is set to expire before Christmas, which means the 49ers could be back in the Bay Area for the holiday. But Shanahan realizes that’s subject to change.
“I just try to tell our guys, I don’t care what happens, but we’re not going to spend Christmas without our families,” Shanahan said. “We’ll figure it out.”
The 49ers are currently scheduled to play the Cardinals on the road on Saturday, Dec. 26. But by that time, they’ll probably feel right at home.