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NBA, players association agree to new COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Ben Rohrbach
·3-min read

Amid widespread coronavirus concerns wreaking havoc on the league, the NBA and its players association reached an agreement on Tuesday requiring additional health and safety protocols for the current season.

The following guidelines will be enacted immediately, per the NBA’s news release:

  • Players in their home market are required to remain in their residence for at least the next two weeks, “except to attend team-related activities at the team facility or arena, exercise outside, or perform essential activities, or as a result of extraordinary circumstances.” When home from work, players may only interact with “household members, family and any personal staff working regularly in the home.”

  • Players on the road are not permitted to leave their team hotel “other than for team activities or emergencies. They are no longer able to interact with “non-team guests” at the hotel.

  • Individuals who regularly visit a player or team staff’s home for professional purposes must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. If a player tests positive or a staff member is at high risk, “the NBA may require players and team staff to undergo five consecutive days of twice-per-day, lab-based testing, in addition to daily point-of-care testing.”

  • Players are restricted from arriving at the arena prior to three hours before tipoff. Before and after games, interactions between players are limited to “elbow or fist bumps.” Players are also encouraged to “avoid extended socializing and maintain six feet of distance as much as possible.”

  • Players are required to wear face masks on the bench, in the locker room, during strength and conditioning activities and when traveling with a non-household member. “Cool-down chairs” spaced six feet apart and not requiring masks will be provided at least 12 feet from the bench for players exiting the game. Cooled-down players must return to their assigned seats on the bench with a mask.

  • Pregame locker room meetings are limited to no more than 10 minutes for at least the next two weeks, and everyone in attendance must wear a face mask. All other meetings between players and team staff also require face masks and must take place “on the court, in a league-approved space, or at the arena in a room large enough to provide for at least six feet of distance between individuals.”

  • Teams are required to form seating charts to ensure players who sit closest to each other on the bench must also do the same on the team plane.

  • Massages, physical therapy and other treatment sessions at hotels require face masks and must be performed “in a ballroom or other large open space,” providing 12 feet of space between players.

A general view of the New Orleans Pelicans court during the national anthem prior to an NBA game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
Amid widespread coronavirus concerns wreaking havoc on the league, the NBA and its players association reached an agreement on Tuesday requiring additional health and safety protocols for the current season. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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