The NBA’s proposed health and safety protocols for the upcoming season will have much different requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated players, according to Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
The new rules, which are still being negotiated with the players union, are outlined in a memo the league sent to its teams. They would require players who have not gotten the vaccine to have their lockers as far away as possible from vaccinated teammates. They will also be placed in separate sections during meals, flights and bus rides.
Vaccinated players would no longer be required to have daily tests for the virus and will only be subject to testing if they exhibit symptoms or are exposed to someone who has tested positive. Their unvaccinated counterparts must be tested on any days with games or practices and may have to be tested twice on some days.
Those who haven’t been vaccinated will still be subject to a mandatory seven-day quarantine if they have close contact with a person who tests positive. Vaccinated players likely won’t have to deal with a quarantine as long as they don’t return a positive test.
Unvaccinated players won’t be permitted to sit with their unvaccinated teammates and must be at least six feet away during meals and team meetings. During team flights, the unvaccinated may have to sit in a section of the plane with staff members, and on bus trips, they will have to be separated from other players and may be required to take a separate bus.
Some of the restrictions may be relaxed for unvaccinated players who have recovered from the virus within the past six months, Windhorst and Bontemps add. The NBA also hopes to have all players tested for COVID-19 antibodies during their preseason physicals.