NBA has relaxed the COVID-19 safety measures it had set against COVID-19 for fully vaccinated teams.
The new relaxed rules are applicable for any players, head coaches, or team staff who have received the complete dose (two shots) of COVID-19 vaccines.
Besides getting both the vaccines’ doses, they will have to wait for at least two weeks before being considered fully vaccinated.
As per the new guideline, the fully vaccinated individuals will have fewer mandated coronavirus tests, quarantines, and contact tracing issues.
Team staff and players shall be able to revisit restaurants as well.
What else has been changed?
NBA had hinted at the change at the All-Star Game earlier this month.
Talking to the press, the commissioner, Adam Silver had stated that there is something in store for the one who chooses to get vaccinated.
Due to the contact tracing rule, many star players like Ben Simmons and Embiid had to stay out of the court.
However, that will not be the case for the player who gets fully vaccinated. Even if someone who has been in contact with the player tests positive, they shall get to play.
Earlier, the players were not allowed to visit an extended family member and their friends.
The ban has now been lifted for the players who got both of the doses. Likewise, other people can visit them without having to get tested anywhere.
If 85% of the entire team gets completely vaccinated, those individuals who got shots will no longer have to wear masks in team practice. They will be allowed to eat wherever they wish as well.
The majority of the New Orleans Pelicans team staff and some players have got their first shots.
It is not yet disclosed who the players are. Pelicans are the first team to get the team-vaccination started.
I’m getting the vaccine shot tomorrow… ya boy kinda nervous 😂😂
— sindarius thornwell (@Sin_City_803) March 13, 2021
On 18th March 2021, Yesterday, fourteen of the Atlanta Hawks players and 36 team staff got their first injection.
Three team players were not vaccinated because they did not match Georgia’s requirement to get vaccines.
In Georgia, individuals with a Body-Mass Index of less than 25 are not allowed to get vaccines.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) March 19, 2021
Other teams are looking for the group-vaccinations.
What were the rules before?
Responding to the increase in the number of Corona cases, the NBA amended the player’s and coaches’ safety protocol. The number of positive tested cases among players of the teams too had increased.
Similarly, many games had to be postponed or rescheduled due to virus-related reasons.
Amendments were finally done after having to postpone five games in a single week. The NBA introduced the new rules on 12th January 2021.
As per almost 160 pages, long guidelines released by the association players were barred from many activities.
They were asked to stay at home and are to leave home/hotel strictly only for the game or team-related issues and for emergencies.
All the players and staffs have to limit their social interactions.
Eating or going out was strictly prohibited. Meeting people who do not live in their house or work for them daily is discouraged.
During the meeting, all the personnel involved in or out of the locker room strictly wear masks. The meeting time is also limited to 10 minutes.
If it is to extend the time limit, they need to maintain the 12-feet social distance.
On the game-day, players are not allowed in the arena 3 hours from the game time.
Even during the match, players are to minimize the social interaction as much as possible. They are advised to maintain the six-foot distance as much as possible.
Players on the bench, coaches, and other team staff have their masks on all the time.
While taking a break, they can open their masks only on the “cool down chair.” It is placed at a distance of 12-feet from the bench.
The most difficult of all is the testing. They test other people who come in regular contact with the players and the team staff twice a week.
Also, the teams in which any players or staff has tested positive are tested twice per day for five consecutive days. Same is for the players as well.
Sometimes the number of testing per day is to increase as well.
Players have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the testing methods time and again.
Even after getting the vaccines, players will have to follow the basic safety guidelines. They have to acknowledge that vaccines are not 100% effective.
The only way to save themselves, their beloved, and their teams are by being cautious.