Report: NBA, NBPA Agree to Extended Safety Protocols Through 1st Half of Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2021

The court floor and league logo are shown after Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference final between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The NBA will reportedly maintain its stricter health and safety protocols until at least the start of the All-Star break.  

On Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the league and its players association agreed that the tighter restrictions that seek to limit interactions between the traveling parties and communities at large will remain in place until at least the last game prior to the March 5-10 All-Star Break.

On Jan. 12, the NBA announced stricter measures that called for players and team personnel to remain at home or in the hotel on the road at all times except for team activities and emergencies. The rules also limit interactions with anyone outside of household members and team guests.

Among the number of other rules were one that prevents players from arriving at the arena more than three hours before a game. Players were also asked to minimize interactions before and after games to elbow or fist bumps.

Perhaps most notably, players are required to wear masks on the bench.

Those who come out of games can sit in "cool down chairs" that are away from the bench without a mask until they have caught their breath and then return to the bench with a facemask.

The difficulties the league has faced during its attempt to play the 2020-21 campaign inside home arenas instead of a bubble-like environment have been an overarching storyline of the season. There have been a number of postponements and marquee players sitting out due to COVID-19 protocols.

That uncertainty was one reason the league has not announced the second half of its schedule to this point so it has some flexibility to make up the postponed games prior to the playoffs.

The NBA finished its 2019-20 campaign inside the Walt Disney World Resort bubble and did not have a single positive test among players or team personnel.