NBA Allows Head Coaches to Go Maskless During Games if They've Been Fully Vaccinated

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 22, 2021

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
AP Photo/Morry Gash

The NBA informed teams Saturday that head coaches will be permitted to coach without wearing a mask during the playoffs as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), the NBA made the announcement in a memo and outlined when masks will still be required.

While head coaches won't have to wear a mask during the game if they are vaccinated, they will still be required to do so during pregame warmups and introductions, as well as at halftime.

Assistant coaches and players must still wear masks while on the sidelines.


Having coaches wear masks throughout the game began last season when the 2019-20 campaign resumed in a bubble in Orlando, Florida..

As part of the memo, the NBA wrote that it was relaxing rules for mask wearing among vaccinated head coaches "to facilitate in-game coaching duties, and in light of vaccination rates among NBA head coaches."

Public mask mandates are starting to see changes throughout the United States for vaccinated citizens.

Likely as a result of the increasing vaccination rate, some teams are increasing the capacity at their playing venues significantly for the playoffs.

Per the AP, the Miami Heat are set to allow 17,000 fans for their upcoming playoff games against the Milwaukee Bucks, which is 85 percent of their AmericanAirlines Arena's capacity.

Additionally, the Boston Celtics plan to be "near full capacity," while the New York Knicks and Utah Jazz are set to allow more fans as well.

The NBA is also open to the possibility of NBA Finals games being filled to 100 percent capacity.

The Heat and Bucks are set to get the playoffs started Saturday afternoon, followed by the Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Celtics vs. Nets and Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets.