The NBA has pushed back the reopening of some team's practice and training facilities to May 8 at the earliest, following the league needing additional time to make sure that it would be safe despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The league planned to give teams options to re-open facilities as early as May 1, before deciding to change the date, which is still not yet set in stone. If and when the facilities do re-open, there will be strict rules that will be put in place.
According to The Associated Press, players would have to wear face masks inside facilities, unless they're working out. Any staff members present would also have to wear face masks and gloves, while keeping a minimum of 12 feet of distance, unless any medical or training personnel are in contact with players.
There are several other protocols to the potential reopening of facilities that the league had not made public prior to the initial memo being released, which include:
- Players who return to their home-team markets from out of town will have to quarantine before being allowed back in the facility.
- All equipment used by players in their voluntary workouts, including basketballs, will have to be disinfected before being used again.
- Players will not be allowed to share towels, and teams will not be permitted to make steam rooms, saunas, cold tubs, oxygen chambers, or cryotherapy chambers at the facilities available.
- Teams will have to designate a staff member as a "Facility Hygiene Officer" to oversee all new policies.
- Players will have to enter the facility alone, without family members, friends or personal security.
- All cell phones, keys, and other often-touched items must be cleaned and disinfected upon entry to the facility.
Other rules include a limit of only four players allowed at a facility at a time, no practices and or scrimmages, while no coaches can be a part of any workout. All players are also still prohibited to work out at any public fitness centers, health clubs or gyms.
The Celtics will not re-open the Red Auerbach Center next week, following Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's announcement that the state had extended its stay-at-home order through May 18. The team had no plans to open their practice facility even if the state order had been lifted.
The Atlanta Hawks announced that they would not re-open their practice facility, despite the state of Georgia having lighten their social distancing measures. The NBA released a memo that team facilities would remain closed until May 8 at the earliest, following the Hawks' decision to not opt in.
The NBA season has been shutdown since March 11, while all team practice and training facilities have been closed since March 19.
Photo used courtesy of The Boston Globe