The National Basketball Association (NBA) has issued updated coronavirus health and safety guidelines for its teams ahead of the new season later this month, including possible disciplinary actions for players going to bars or attending large gatherings.
According to the 158-page Health and Safety Memo obtained by ESPN, The NBA aims to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the league, including restricting possible exposure players might have outside of games.
The memo allegedly states that NBA players and workers are forbidden from going to bars, lounges or clubs, live entertainment or game venues, public gyms, spas, public pools, or larger indoor events of more than 15 individuals when at home.
The NBA also requires players to leave hotels for dining only if they eat outside at restaurants in private rooms or NBA-approved restaurants.
ESPN stated that the league told teams that officials might “conduct unannounced in-person inspections of team facilities” to keep track of whether teams are compliant with the safety protocols of COVID-19.
According to ESPN, potential penalties for violations include reminders, training sessions, fines, and suspensions.
Teams could also face retribution for failure to comply with or report any “potential or actual violation, and/or any discipline imposed by the team for such violation.”
U.S. health officials have announced that a viable coronavirus vaccine will become available for distribution in the coming months. Both Pfizer and Moderna pharmaceutical companies have sought emergency authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As a result, the NBA has said it would negotiate with the players’ union following FDA approval if coaches, players, and employees will be allowed to obtain the vaccine.
The memo also states that any player who has to be quarantined during the pandemic “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.”
These new guidelines come after the NBA revealed on Wednesday that 48 of the league’s 546 players tested positive for COVID-19 when they returned to training camps.