The NBA has delayed the possible reopening date of some team practice facilities for at least a week to at least May 8, saying Monday that more time is needed to ensure that players are safe and controlled in an effort to mitigate the threats caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA continues to pursue plans to reopen, but with additional rules. When those facilities are reopened, the rules will be strict, experts say. While the May 8 date is far from firm, the NBA reportedly told teams that “they can delay this time if events warrant it.” The league planned to give teams the option to reopen facilities as early as Friday, although it ultimately decided that it would comply with local government orders to remain close.
When they do open, however, there will be no immediate return to normal. A person with knowledge of the league’s plans said players would have to wear face masks inside the facility, except during exercise, and that any staff member present would have to wear face masks and gloves, as well. They will also require a maximum of 12 people present, all of whom will maintain a distance of six feet from one another. The exception in that 12 foot case would be when medical or athletic training personnel are in contact with players. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were not publicly disclosed.
There are many other details of the league’s facility reopening protocols, the person said, including: All equipment used by players in their voluntary training, including basketball, must be disinfected before reuse; Players will not be able to share towels, and teams will not be able to utilize steam rooms, saunas, cold bathtubs, oxygen chambers or cryotherapy chambers in the available facilities; Teams will have to designate a staff member as “Hygiene Officer of Facilities “to oversee all new policies. Players must enter the facilities alone, without family, friends or personal security.
“Our top priority remains everyone’s health and well-being, and we will continue to follow NBA guidelines, as we continue to listen to experts and publicize local government directives,” said Orlando Magic spokesman Joel Glass.