The New Orleans Saints are taking their NFL 2020 draft headquarters to a brewery.
After the coronavirus forced teams to close their facilities because of the pandemic, Saints coach Sean Payton announced in a conference call Wednesday that the team is setting up shop at the Dixie Brewing Company, which belongs to team owner Gayle Benson and is located 15 minutes away from the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
“We have the board set up here. This facility is fantastic, but if I showed you a picture of the room, it’s a big boardroom, clean, it’s brand new,” said the 56-year-old Payton, who recently recovered from the coronavirus and has resumed his football duties.
The NFL draft is scheduled to be held in a Las Vegas studio without fans from April 23-25.
Payton said the Dixie Brewery, which opened in January and is located in the New Orleans East neighborhood, was an ideal spot because it currently is closed to the public due to the pandemic and also is located away from any high traffic areas.
“There’s no one out here. We have our board set up, we have seven monitors, Payton said. “This is where we’re going to be. This is where we’re planning on setting up shop for the draft and we’re operating accordingly.”
The Saints will follow the Centers for Disease and Control guidelines of limiting the people in the big board room to just six or seven people. Employees will have their temperatures taken before entering the war room and must practice safe social distance guidelines.
“We’re certainly distanced away from each other. There’s plenty of space. I’m kind of like the guy they all want us to sit away from (laughter) and I’m like ‘I’m the safest guy in the room here’ and then the monitors have all the scouts and everyone else (conferenced in),” Payton said. “So total people involved in the meeting might be 20, total in the room would be six or seven.”
The NFL said it would re-evaluate whether to re-open the team facilities next week, after meeting with medical experts and health officials.