NBA adds stricter protocols

By Dan Woike
Los Angeles Times/TNS

The NBA and the NBPA, the union that represents the league’s players, have agreed to a new set of health and safety protocols over the next two weeks to help the league navigate through a wave of game postponements because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing.

The NBA has postponed four games since Sunday due to the increased positive tests and contact tracing.

The league is mandating players and team staff to follow strict regulations while in home markets, prohibiting them from leaving their residences except for “team-related activities at the team facility or arena, exercise outside, or (to) perform essential activities, or as a result of extraordinary circumstances.”

Also, anyone in regular household contact with players or staff must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

While on the road, players are no longer allowed to have guests inside their hotel rooms. Players had been allowed up to two family members or close friends. Players can also no longer dine at league-approved restaurants and are forbidden from contact with nonteam guests at hotels.

Pregame locker-room meetings must be 10 minutes or less, with players prohibited from pregame handshakes outside of “elbow and fist bumps.” Players also must wear face masks on the bench, with “cool down chairs” 12 feet away from the bench for players who just checked out where masks aren’t required.

If a team has a positive case, it can require up to five consecutive days of “twice-per-day, lab-based testing, in addition to daily point-of-care testing.”

The measures could be implemented longer than two weeks if necessary.