As the NBA undergoes the most unique scenario in the history of their league, it’s important that everyone in the league maintains flexibility. New information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could change the Walt Disney World bubble at a moment’s notice, and the league has to be prepared for any changes.
In the beginning stages of the bubble, very few rules were been changed as players were still entering for the first time. However, the NBA has already shown their willingness for adapt, as they’ve already gone back on their initial ruling that players must change into their uniforms while still in their hotel rooms.
Now, the league has made another change, this one more drastic. In a move that expands the bubble and who’s allowed in it, all 30 team governors will be allowed to enter in order to watch seeding or playoff games in the stands, according to Sam Amick and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic:
The league sent a memo to teams this week saying that team governors would be permitted to attend seeding games and that the eight teams not fielding teams in Orlando can send representatives to scout games when the season restarts on July 30, league sources told The Athletic. All 30 teams will be allowed to send up to five people to the games, including a governor, assistant governors, and a senior basketball operations executive. While five is the max allowed, a source with knowledge of the process said there was no guarantee that all 30 teams would be permitted to have that many for each game. Those team officials will only have access to the arenas for games.
Anyone that goes will have to first report a negative test for the coronavirus that was taken no more than 72 hours before entering, and using a test approved by the league, and can only go to the arenas and back to their off-campus hotel. They will only have access to arenas, and won’t be allowed to go into any of the three hotels lodging the 22 teams set to play in Florida. They will also have to wear masks at all times, undergo a temperature check, symptom screening, and a “rapid coronavirus test prior to entry onto the NBA Campus,” according to the memo that was obtained by The Athletic, and must exit the campus immediately after games.
While the rules for governors and their representatives to enter the bubble are still extremely stringent, it is surprising that they’re allowing this in the first place. The initial point of the bubble was to keep any possible infected people outside while having an all healthy population inside.
However, it appears guidelines for team representatives will not allow them to have any contact with the players, which should keep all team personnel safe, even if an infected person sits down to watch a game.
Moving forward, it can expected that changes like this one will happen from time to time, especially as families will be let into the bubble for the second round of the postseason. The good news is that the league is doing everything they can to ensure that everyone stays healthy throughout this experiment.
Player guests await clearance
While the NBA is permitting team governors to already enter the Walt Disney World bubble, player guests must still wait until the first round of the playoffs. Furthermore, they will be required to undergo two phases of quarantine upon arriving.
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