Unvaccinated NBA players and team personnel must submit to weekly COVID-19 testing this season, the league told its clubs in a memo Tuesday.
There will be certain exceptions to that mandate, the league said, such as when the unvaccinated person is considered to have been “recently recovered” from COVID-19.
But for all others, testing will not be required except when “directed by their team physician or a league physician or government authority,” the league said. Face masks also will not be required, though they will be recommended for use indoors in cities where coronavirus levels are classified by government officials as high.
The policy for the coming season — agreed to by the National Basketball Players Association — has been developed over the last several weeks and is consistent with what commissioner Adam Silver said last month he would expect.
“It looks like we’ll be on our normal track in terms of when the season starts, in terms of our protocols around the game, particularly around the health and safety of our players,” Silver said at the league’s Board of Governors meeting in mid-July. “I have learned over the last 2½ years not to make any predictions when it comes to COVID, but only to say we’ll be prepared for anything that comes our way.”
The overwhelming majority of NBA players and team personnel were vaccinated last season, and the league said it is strongly recommending that those people remain up-to-date with their vaccination status. That means not only having received all doses in the initial series of vaccinations but also all boosters that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All players and team personnel will be required to get tested when exhibiting any symptoms, plus they will be required to report those symptoms, as well as any positive or inconclusive results of tests not administered by the team or the league. Players and personnel will also have to report when someone in their household tests positive for COVID-19.