The NBA has faced many different challenges with the 2020-2021 season occurring during a pandemic. The vaccine is now available to some of the public. This means that the NBA has to decide what this meant for their players and staff. The vaccination also means a change in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocol.
Currently, the NBA has left the decision of vaccination up to the players. The NBA is predicting that most players will get vaccinated. The NBA also announced a more relaxed safety protocol for vaccinated players and staff on Wednesday night. This relaxed protocol will hopefully encourage more players and staff to get the vaccine if they were undecided before.
Requirements for the new protocol
The vaccination protocol is based on CDC recommendations and still takes into account the possibility of spread if someone is not vaccinated. The teams must meet certain requirements to have this new protocol put in place. First, everyone who is vaccinated must be “two weeks past their final dose”. Also, the protocol will only be enacted for “any team where 85% of players and 85% of staff are fully vaccinated”.
According to Wednesday’s memo, a few things will be different for the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocol. Teams will need to meet those two requirements for a change in protocol. Players will not have to quarantine after an exposure to a positive Covid-19 case. Also, vaccinated players can have any friends or family visit them without getting tested first or letting the team know. If the players and staff are vaccinated, they will now be able to eat out at restaurants and leave their team hotel with a little more flexibility. Vaccination would also allow the players and staff to stop wearing masks in their practice facilities.
With this relaxed protocol, this seems to be a turn back to a new normal. Almost exactly a year later and professional sports are still feeling the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hopefully with the vaccine coming out and the welcoming of fans into some of the NBA stadiums, the NBA will start to look a little more familiar to fans.