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NBA tightens COVID-19 restrictions as more games are postponed

New rules put in place after uptick of positive cases among league teams
Credit: AP
Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego watches duirng the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

The NBA is taking additional measures to try and slow an uptick of COVID-19 cases among players in the league.

Over the last few days, a handful of games were postponed, as cases rise throughougt the country as well.

Here's what's new, according to the NBA Players Association.


For at least the next two weeks, players and team staff are required to stay at their residence at all times "except to attend team-related activities at team facility or arena, exercise outside, or perform essential activities, or as a result of extraordinary circumstances."


Players and team staff may not leave the hotel (other than for team activities or emergencies) or interact with non-team guests at the hotel.


On flights, teams must create a seating plane on planes so that players whose assigned seats are closest to each other on the bench or games are also closest to each other on the plane.


During pre- and post-game periods, players must limit interactions to elbow or fist bumps, avoid extended socializing and maintain 6 feet of distance as much as possible.


Players must wear facemasks on the bench at all times. Upon exiting the game and prior to returning to the bench, players can sit in "cool down chairs" arranged at least 12 feet from the bench with each chair 6 feet apart, where facemasks are not required. After cooling down, the player can return to his assigned seat on the bench and wear a facemask until entering the game again.

Players are required to wear masks in the locker room, during strength/conditioning activities and when traveling with anyone other than a household member. Coaches and other team staff must wear facemasks at all times during games.

The Hornets have won four-straight games and are scheduled to host Dallas on Wednesday. Despite having a game earlier in the week postponed because of positive COVID-19 cases and contact tracing, the Mavs are reportedly set to fly to Charlotte the day before the game.