Report: NBA relaxes COVID-19 safety guidelines for vaccinated players, teams

The NBA and the Players Association agreed to change their health and safety protocol for those within the league who have received their full COVID-19 vaccine, according to ESPN.

The changes, per the report, will apply to anyone who is “two weeks past their final dose” and for “any team where 85% of players and 85% of staff are fully vaccinated.” The NBA and NBPA sent a memo with the new protocols to teams on Wednesday night.

NBA’s new health and safety protocols

According to the report, fully vaccinated people do not have to quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus, and can have both friends and family visit them anywhere without having them get tested or register with the team.

Vaccinated individuals can start dining at restaurants, do not have to wear masks at team facilities and have more flexibility to leave the team hotel when traveling.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines earlier this month, stating that, among other things, vaccinated people can start gathering with other vaccinated people indoors without masks.

About 22% of people in the United States have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Wednesday night, according to The New York Times, and about 12% of people are fully vaccinated. The country is administering nearly 2.5 million doses of the vaccine each day, too.

“Multiple” eligible New Orleans Pelicans players and staff members received the coronavirus vaccine last week, just after Louisiana expanded its vaccine guidelines. The team didn’t say who received a vaccine, though Sindarius Thornwell announced that he was one of the players included on Twitter.

The NBA has pushed hard for Americans to get vaccinated, and launched several public service announcements with former players. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he isn’t planning to require that players get vaccinated — something that some, including LeBron James, haven’t committed to doing.

At least, not publicly.

“That’s a conversation that my family and I will have. Pretty much keep that to a private thing," James said when asked if he planned to get vaccinated at the All-Star Game. “Obviously, I saw Adam [Silver] had his comments about the vaccination. But things like that, when you decide to do something, that’s a conversation between you and your family and not for everybody. I’ll keep it that way."

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