Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all NFL team facilities are temporarily closed. With the NFL Draft just weeks away, teams need to make final preparations, which has led to the New Orleans Saints re-locating their headquarters at the next best place: a local brewery. The Saints are now handling their day-to-day operations at the new Dixie Brewing Company facility in New Orleans East. It's owned by Gayle Benson, who is also the owner of the Saints. The good news is the Saints can stay at the brewery through the draft if they need to.
"This facility is fantastic," Payton said per ESPN. "There's no one out here. We have our board set up, we've got seven monitors. ... We're certainly distanced away from each other. There's plenty of space. And then the monitors have all the scouts and everyone else, so the total people [involved] in the meeting might be 20."
Payton is making sure they follow the social distancing guidelines since he was diagnosed with coronavirus last month. He's now cleared of the disease, and he wants everyone to take social distancing seriously so we all can get back to normal.
"We try asking nicely, and we try saying 'hey look, this is the deal,' and then you still see behavior that makes you upset," Payton said. "Just picture everyone's got a hand grenade on them, how about that? So stay away from everybody."
Payton continued: "The thing that's troubling is, it's so contagious that it's going to find the people that aren't healthy enough to defend themselves against it. You and I talked about your father, our parents, our aunts and uncles, those people – anybody with comorbidities that has an existing or preexisting condition. And you don't have to be in your 80s to have one of those... Anybody that has preexisting conditions becomes a greater risk, obviously. And we've seen younger people.
Payton can now focus on getting the right players to help them win the Super Bowl, but he admitted this year will be challenging since coaches can't talk to the prospects face-to-face or host them for workouts.
"There's probably more unchecked boxes this year for teams than normal because that month of March after the combine was eliminated. But, look, that's part of the deal," Payton said. "In the normal schedule you might fly that player in and investigate the data a little bit more, the injury a little bit more. If it was a character concern, you might bring that player in or go to the school and spend more time. ... You may not be able to clarify or clean up some of the question marks that you normally would in each year."