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NBA COVID-19 Rules Explained: What Are The Rules For Vaccinated And Unvaccinated Players?

The guidelines suggest that unvaccinated players are going to live under the same restrictions as last year, which were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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With the NBA regular season scheduled to begin on October 19, here are the set of rules laid out by the Association for vaccinated and unvaccinated players. The NBA recently released its 65-page health and safety protocols for the upcoming 2021-22 season. The guidelines include restrictions on players who are yet to be vaccinated or have refused to take one citing various reasons. The guidelines suggest that unvaccinated players are going to live under the same restrictions as last year, which were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NBA COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players

Players who are yet to receive COVID-19 vaccination or have refused to take one ahead of the upcoming 2021-22 season will be required to follow many of the same restrictions that were imposed during the previous edition of the competition. According to ESPN, players who have been fully vaccinated will not have to undergo daily testing. The rule also implies to coaches and support staff members, who have been mandated to take both shots of vaccine ahead of NBA resumption. Fully vaccinated players will enjoy far more freedoms than unvaccinated players. 

However, players who have refused to take vaccines will have to undergo daily testing otherwise they will not be allowed to enter training facilities and mingle with other members of their team. Unvaccinated players must also undergo lab-based testing ahead of their match as they did in the previous edition. Unvaccinated players are also not allowed to enter dining room areas and eat with fully vaccinated members of the team. They will be required to stay 6 feet apart from fully vaccinated personnel and will also have to wear face masks all the time. 

Is it compulsory for NBA players to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

It is not compulsory for NBA players to be fully vaccinated ahead of the start of the 2021-22 season. Only Tier 1 personnel, referees, and also anyone working in close proximity of players, are mandated to take both shots of vaccine ahead of the opening game on October 19. However, unvaccinated players will not be allowed to take the court in few matches, where states require them to be fully vaccinated. NBA has clarified that any player who refuses to comply with local vaccine mandates will not be paid for missed games. 

NBA vaccination

According to National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, more than 90 per cent of the players are fully vaccinated ahead of the upcoming season, which is more than the national average of 55 per cent.  Only a minority of players have refused to take the vaccine, including Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins and Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving. 

Image: AP