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According to a 158-page memo obtained by ESPN, the league details the restrictions that will be implemented during the 2020-21 season, which is rapidly approaching amid surging coronavirus cases. The document states that while at home, players and staff will be prohibited from visiting bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues as well as public gyms, spas, and pools. They are also forbidden from attending any social gatherings of 15 or more people.
For away games, players and staff will be allowed to leave their hotels for meals, just as long as they do outdoor dining, make arrangements for a private restaurant room, or dine at "NBA/NBPA approved restaurants that will meet league criteria." The league and players union are reportedly working on a list of three authorized eateries per market.
The memo states league officials may also "conduct unannounced in-person inspections of team facilities" to ensure teams are adhering to the safety measures. If noncompliance is discovered, the organization may be hit with "fines, suspensions, adjustment or loss of draft choices and game forfeitures"—depending on the severity of the violation[s]. Players who violate the protocols may also be subjected to in-season quarantine for an undisclosed duration. These players "may be subject to a proportionate adjustment to pay for any games missed during the period that the player is in quarantine and undergoing testing due to engaging in such activities and/or conduct."
Players and staff will also be required to take daily COVID-19 tests. The NBA will also conduct twice-a-week testing for anyone living in the same household as players and staff.
Distribution of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine could begin as soon as this month. The NBA memo states that once the vaccine is federally approved, specialists working with the league and players union will discuss whether athletes, coaches, and staff will be required to receive it. If the parties decide against the requirement, there may be additional safety restrictions placed on those who choose not to get vaccinated.