NBA makes big changes to its COVID health and safety protocols

Another NBA game has been canceled because of COVID quarantines and the NBA and NPBA have agreed upon revised healthy and safety guidelines.

Another day, another NBA game canceled because a team can’t meet their roster minimums.

This morning, the league announced that Wednesday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics would be postponed. The Celtics are currently dealing with injuries as well as two positive COVID results — Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams — and the accompanying quarantine of close contacts. They haven’t been able to field the minimum of eight roster players and this will be their third consecutive postponed game.

They aren’t the only team dealing with a similar situation and the game between the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans last night was postponed for the same reason. In this case, the Mavericks were the team without enough players.

Shortly after that, the league announced that they had agreed upon a revised set of health and safety guidelines with the NBA Player’s Association.

What has the NBA changed about their COVID health and safety guidelines?

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported the following changes to the current guidelines:

  • Players will no longer be allowed to have non-team guests at road hotels. (This was a particularly obvious and troubling loophole in the initial guidelines).
  • Players are to remain at home other than team activities, emergencies or to perform essential activities.
  • On the road, players will remain in their hotels except for team activities and emergencies.
  • Pre-game meetings in the locker rooms can’t run over 10 minutes and everyone involved needs to wear masks. All other meetings are supposed to be on the court or in a space that allows for six-foot distancing.
  • Anyone who regularly visits team or staff in their own homes needs to be tested.

There have also been discussions of guidelines for player contact on the court before and after games, including limiting contact between players from opposing teams. The hope is that these changes can help slow the spread and allow the NBA to continue its season without interruption.

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