On Tuesday afternoon, the NBA and NBPA agreed to new health and safety protocols that will immediately take effect for a minimum of two weeks as the league true to get a grip on the recent surge in Covid-19 cases. As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of five games have been postponed this season, including four in the last week because of recent outbreaks in the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards.
The new agreed-upon guidelines are as follows:
• Players and staff personnel are prohibited from leaving their houses when in their own market, except for attending and team-related activities at the arena and practices facility, exercising outdoors, for essential services or in case of an emergency.
• Any pregame meeting in the locker room cannot last for more than 10 minutes and everyone must be wearing masks. Any other meetings between players and team staff must happen on the court or in a league-approved space inside arena big enough to accommodate six feet between everyone present.
• In team flights, players are only allowed to sit next to teammates who they will sit next to on the bench. Any treatment sessions such as massages or physical therapy must occur in a hotel’s ballroom or a big enough space to maintain a minimum of twelve feet distance between each station.
• Players are prohibited from arriving at the arena on game days any earlier than three hours before tip-off and must limit interaction to elbow or fist bumps before and after games. Extended socialising with opponents is discouraged.
• Masks must be worn at all times by players while sitting on the bench. “Cool down chairs” will be set up at least 12 gets away from the team bench for players exiting the game. Masks have to be worn at all times in locker rooms, during workouts and when interacting with people outside of their household. Coaches and team staff also have to wear masks at all times.
• People who regularly visit a player’s house for professional reasons – such as trainers, agents, chefs, managers, etc. – must undergo COVID-19 testing twice a week. If there is a positive case in a team, the league may be compelled to force the entire team and staff to undergo testing twice a day.