In a memo sent on Tuesday, the NBA reportedly informed teams that is was close to finalizing and agreement with the National Basketball Players Association on health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. Unvaccinated players will be subject to many of the same regulations the entire league operated under last season, before COVID-19 vaccines became available.
Players who have been vaccinated will have much more lax restrictions, including no daily testing. This also applies to Tier 1 personnel, which includes coaches, referees and anyone working within 15 feet of players on a regular basis.
Unvaccinated players must undergo daily testing before entering a team facility, participating in team-organized activities, or interacting with other players and Tier 1 personnel. They will also be subject to lab-based testing on game days.
Beyond routine testing, unvaccinated players will operate under further restrictions, per Bontemps, including: no dining indoors with other players or Tier 1 personnel; must maintain six feet of separation from any other person; must wear a mask at all times; must have a locker that is as distant from other players as possible, and it cannot be next to another non-fully-vaccinated player.
The league is also requiring unvaccinated players from staying in their homes or hotel while on the road, with the exception of team and "essential activities," including buying groceries or taking their children to school. They will be prohibited from going to bars, restaurants, nightclubs or large indoor gatherings. In-person interactions with people who are outside of their family are only permitted for a "limited number of close personal guests" who have to be tested beforehand.
With the exception of "unusual circumstances," fully vaccinated players will not have to quarantine if they are a close contact. Unvaccinated players will have to quarantine for seven days. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated players will be required to wear masks at all times, excluding when they're participating in basketball activities, showering or actively eating and drinking.
The news of the league's memo comes days after a Rolling Stones report detailed a riff between the NBA and players who have been resistant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. About 90% of NBA players are currently fully vaccinated, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week.
Bontempts reports that the NBA has proposed vaccine mandates to the NBPA, but those proposals have been rejected.
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