NBA COVID-19 protocols, explained: What are the rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? – Sporting News - Techy Hunters

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Sunday, October 3, 2021

NBA COVID-19 protocols, explained: What are the rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? – Sporting News

The COVID-19 pandemic derailed the 2019-20 NBA season, and the impact of the coronavirus was felt once again during the 2020-21 campaign. While the league has gotten closer to a sense of normalcy — teams will play their typical 82-game slates, and fans will be back in arenas — it’s clear that the NBA is not out of the woods just yet.

The biggest storyline from this year’s set of team media days was how players felt about being vaccinated against COVID-19. The vast majority of players have been vaccinated ahead of the 2021-22 season, but a vocal minority has turned the issue into a near-daily topic of conversation.

MORE: Draymond Green won’t push vaccine on Andrew Wiggins

For now, let’s put the opinions to the side and focus on what we actually know about the COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming season.

(Current as of Oct. 2, 2021)

How many NBA players are vaccinated?

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that 95 percent of NBA players have been vaccinated. That group includes players who have received at least their first shot.

Near the start of training camps, 90 percent of NBA players had been vaccinated, which National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts pointed out was a much higher percentage compared to the country as a whole.

Are NBA players required to be vaccinated?

No, NBA players will not be required to get vaccinated. Multiple reports have indicated that the NBPA immediately shut down any proposals that included the possibility of a vaccine mandate.

Most NBA staff members, on the other hand, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That policy applies to all staffers who will work near the court and interact with players, including coaches, front office members and medical personnel.

NBA referees must also be vaccinated in order to work games, and they have agreed to take any recommended booster shots.

“It’s a shared view of vaccines that they are probably one of the top three inventions in the history of humankind,” longtime referee Marc Davis told The New York Times’ Sopan Deb. “And to have this access to this innovative vaccine and allow us to continue to work, to do our business and to continue to work collaboratively, it’s not that difficult of a conversation to begin and to work through. …

“The benefit of the mandate is that our officials are flying commercially. They have families they’re coming back to. We’re engaged in the business of basketball. We’re in intimate environments with our players. We recognize the importance of the vaccine. I think this will all work itself out on all levels among all leagues.”

What are the COVID-19 protocols for NBA players?

Unvaccinated players will be forced to operate under many of the same rules that were in place last season, according to a memo obtained by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps:

  • Undergo daily testing before entering team facilities or interacting with other players and staffers
  • Undergo lab-based game-day testing
  • No indoor dining in the same room as other players or Tier 1 personnel (anyone working regularly within 15 feet of players and referees)
  • Keep six feet of distance from any other person
  • Wear a face mask in almost all situations while inside team facilities
  • Have a locker as far away from vaccinated players as possible

Additionally, unvaccinated players must remain at their residences while in their home markets and in their hotels while on the road. They can only leave for essential activities, such as buying groceries or taking their children to school. They will not be permitted to visit restaurants, bars, clubs, entertainment venues or large indoor gatherings.

Vaccinated players, meanwhile, will not have to deal with such tight restrictions. They will not have to undergo daily testing, and they will only be tested when they are symptomatic, considered a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or required by a medical professional. Fully vaccinated players won’t have to quarantine if they are considered a close contact, but unvaccinated players will have to quarantine for seven days.

The NBA and NBPA have not yet finalized this agreement, so the protocols could change for both vaccinated and unvaccinated players before and during the 2021-22 regular season.

What is different about the COVID-19 protocols for the Knicks, Nets and Warriors?

Local guidelines in New York and San Francisco will prevent unvaccinated Knicks, Nets and Warriors players from entering their home arenas for games. (Visiting players will follow different protocols.) Those players will also not be paid for missed games.

While the Knicks are 100 percent vaccinated heading into the 2021-22 season, the Nets and Warriors have major concerns. Brooklyn guard Kyrie Irving and Golden State forward Andrew Wiggins are still not compliant with those policies, which could cost them millions of dollars if they don’t change their vaccination stances.



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