NEW YORK — As we're just a month and a half away from the next NBA season starting, the league is reportedly informing teams now of COVID-19-related policies that will take place next season, mainly centered around vaccination status.
According to Stadium's Shams Charania, the league is informing teams that there will be little to no restrictions for players who are vaccinated, but those who choose not to get vaccinated will face heavy restrictions.
Additionally, one caveat is going to make things extremely interesting for several teams.
Local laws in New York and San Francisco require proof of vaccination for entry into public indoor spaces including arenas and stadiums. The NBA has reportedly informed the Knicks, Nets and Warriors that unvaccinated players will not be allowed to enter home arenas or team facilities.
While Knicks, Nets and Warriors players who are not vaccinated would not be allowed to play in home games or enter team facilities, the same rules would not apply for visiting teams. According to Charania, visiting players are exempt from the vaccine rules in New York and San Francisco.
"If you're the NBA, why not go all the way and say anyone who goes and wants to play in New York, Brooklyn, San Francisco, you have to comply?" Bukowski said on Locked On Today.
"I think there is a chance that could be coming, I'm not willing to rule out just yet that the NBA is going to just say, how are we going to put a hard line on these home teams and then not have the road teams have to comply with it?" Wolfe said on Locked On Today. "Because if it's all about public safety...and you bring in unvaccinated individuals from other teams, you could still do the testing protocol but if you want to create the safest environment possible for fans, for media, for players themselves, I don't know why you wouldn't just mandate it at this point."
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Charania reported on Thursday that vaccinated players will undergo little to no restrictions, while unvaccinated players will face restrictions:
- Vaccinated players will not be required to undergo regular coronavirus testing during 2021-22 season.
- Unvaccinated players will undergo regular testing.
- Vaccinated players will not have to quarantine if they are determined to have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
- Unvaccinated players will have to quarantine for seven days if close contact.
- Unvaccinated players will have to wear masks at facilities/team travel.
- Unvaccinated players will not be able to sit next to other players during activities.
- If all players on a team are fully vaccinated, NBA and NBPA reportedly believe there will be no restrictions on players‘ away-from-work activities (bars, restaurants, clubs, lounges).
The NBA announced Saturday that it has struck a deal with the National Basketball Referees Association that all referees will be fully vaccinated.
Charania reported that teams will return to normal bench seating during the 2021-22 season, but game day personnel are expected to be required to wear masks at start of season.
Additionally, as of now, Charania reports the NBA is expected to mandate fans within 15 feet of the court to be fully vaccinated or return a negative coronavirus test prior to the game.
The 2021-22 NBA season begins on Oct. 19.