There are still endless moving parts on the return of the 2019-20 NBA season.
While the framework is in place — which is a lot more than can be said about other sports leagues — health and safety concerns must still be addressed. This is especially true of the non-NBA personnel who will have access to the bubble: Walt Disney World employees.
All personnel will be staying in one resort, occupying a large amount of space. That area must be maintained, especially to keep all surfaces clean and virus-free. Thus, employees will be in the bubble all day and all night, potentially interacting with players and staff.
While the NBA has done a better job than most when it comes to outlining a plan that doesn’t compromise the health and safety of its personnel, there are always holes. Disney World employees are one of them, as enforcing a quarantine sounds highly unethical.
Because of that, there will be a number of protocols in place to help ease the risk of transmitting and spreading the virus from employees to NBA personnel, according to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports:
Disney workers have not been told to quarantine on campus, according to Eric Clinton, president of Disney’s labor union, United Here Local 362, which represents custodians and ride operators. Clinton told NBC Sports that it was “unlikely” that staffers would be subject to daily testing and quarantine measures like NBA players and team staffers.
There will be protocols in place, however. At this point, Disney staffers will be required to wear a mask at all times. Beginning June 14, per the latest labor agreement between Disney and the 38,000 members of Service Trades Council Union, Disney employees will be required to do a temperature check at a designated central location before proceeding to work. If the employee’s temperature is below 100.4, they will remain at work. If the employee’s temperature is at or above 100.4, the employee will be given “a cool-down period” and then undergo a recheck. If it remains at or above 100.4, the employee will be sent home.
Not being in an enforced quarantine and not being tested daily are certainly reasons for concern. However, the rules that will be enforced look to be pretty secure from a health standpoint.
Temperature checks are not perfect but will detect any fevers, which are a prime indicator of the virus. Wearing masks and remaining distant from the players will also help.
During a global pandemic, any return to play plan will come with risks. It’s important that the NBA mitigates them as much as possible before players get to Orlando at the beginning of July.