The NBA has seemingly suffered another challenge in its looming return of the 2019-20 season after the reported number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases experienced a spike in Florida.
Of course, this is hardly ideal for the 22 teams planning to make the trip to the the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando. Although the NBA has taken significant steps to ensure the health of players and staff preparing to enter the bubble environment, the fact that the state has become the hotbed for the virus raises even more concerns.
While commissioner Adam Silver is adamant about the NBA’s obligation to resume play, he has acknowledged the negative impact that the record-setting numbers being made in Florida have had on the outlook of the rest of the season.
Despite all the health protocols that are being put in place by the league, there is some concern over Disney employees who would not have to quarantine. According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is still confident in the steps the league has taken:
“Can’t say I am surprised, given the state’s approach to reopening. We are obviously clearly monitoring the situation. While we take some solace in knowing our players will not travel commercially to get to Orlando, that access to the campus is severely limited and, of course, all of the other health and safety protocols in place, the numbers will keep our attention. If necessary to add further restrictions respecting those third parties having access to the campus, we will seek to implement them.”
Roberts’ comments suggest that while the uptick in cases in Florida have not gone unnoticed, the NBA feels there are still more restrictions that can be put in place in order to keep all those staying in the bubble healthy after it was revealed that the company’s employees are not required to remain inside.
Teams are scheduled to arrive in Orlando from July 7-9 to begin preparations for the eight regular-season seeding games and playoffs. The prospect of the bubble environment serving as an oasis of health in this hotbed for the virus by then may be considered far-fetched.
However, it seems the NBA is prepared to take further action if Florida does not show any significant signs of improvement in the coming weeks.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!