As NBA teams prepare for their great migration to Orlando for the NBA’s upcoming restart, not every participating player will be traveling with their team into the bubble. Whether they have extenuating circumstances or recently tested positive for COVID-19, they’ll have to travel separately, which presents some important questions: How should those players travel to Orlando, and how will they be safely inserted into the bubble?
The NBA has answered those questions in a memo to teams that has been obtained by ESPN. Players will have several options for travel, but what mode they use will reportedly dictate what happens when they arrive.
According to ESPN, players traveling separately to Orlando will be required to pay for their own travel arrangements. They have three options: travel by car, fly commercial, or chartering a flight. If a player drives or flies on a private charter, they are required to have two consecutive negative tests before they’re allowed to take up residence in the bubble. If they fly commercial, they need three consecutive negative tests upon arrival.
Players who have tested positive for the coronavirus will need to quarantine and return two negative tests before they can even travel to Orlando and undergo the additional tests the NBA requires for players traveling separately.
The NBA is obviously taking the sanctity of their bubble very seriously. A player isn’t allowed to travel with their team to Orlando if they missed a scheduled coronavirus test two days before the departure date. And if a player hasn’t been getting tested regularly for the last several weeks, they must test negative six consecutive times before they’re allowed into the bubble — regardless of how they traveled there.
There has already been a COVID-19 outbreak in the Orlando bubble, which is at the Walt Disney World Resort. Since Major League Soccer arrived last week to prepare for its MLS is Back Tournament, six members of FC Dallas have tested positive for the coronavirus. The entire team is now under quarantine, and their July 9 match against the Vancouver Whitecaps has been postponed.
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