The NBA and NBPA have agreed to alter their health and safety protocols for COVID-19 for those that have been fully vaccinated, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. The NBA considers someone fully vaccinated 14 days after their final vaccine dose, and the changed guidelines apply to any team in which 85 percent of players and 85 percent of staff are vaccinated.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the updated protocols for those that have been vaccinated include the following changes:
No mandatory quarantines based on exposure. No PCR tests on off-days. PCR tests on game days can be done earlier (before 5 p.m.). Players can go to outdoor restaurants. Players can bring up to four guests with them on the road without prior testing.Players can leave hotel rooms at any time. Players and staff can attend meetings in person. This includes both team-related meetings and business meetings.Masks will no longer be required at team facilities.
So far, a small number of players have received their first dose of vaccine based on preexisting conditions. The New Orleans Pelicans are the only team known to have a number of players and staffers that have received shots. All who have received it among them are eligible in the state of Louisiana. Each state controls how it distributes its supply of vaccines.
None of these protocols will go into effect until a team reaches that 85 percent figure. As only a select few players have been vaccinated so far, the changes are still a ways off for most NBA teams. Still, the restricting protocols have been unpopular no matter how necessary they are during the pandemic. Knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel will surely matter to all those who have been subjected to those guidelines so far this season.