NBA players will be required to follow the same COVID-19 protocols as fans when it comes to entering arenas that require vaccination.
According to ESPN, a league memo Wednesday said that unvaccinated members of the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors will need to receive an approved medical or religious exemption in order to enter their home arenas.
The memo, which was first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, follows local mandates. Beginning Sept. 13, any unvaccinated individual over the age of 12 in New York won’t be allowed to enter certain indoor premises, including Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, without showing proof of at least one shot of the vaccine. San Francisco is implementing similar protocols, requiring anyone over 12 to show proof of full vaccination before attending any large-scale event beginning Oct. 13.
The only way around the mandates for NBA games is to present a medical or religious exemption, or to be a visiting player. The league’s memo said that the laws requiring vaccination or an exemption only apply to players who play in a city with those mandates, which is currently the Knicks, Nets and Warriors.
The NBA, which is scheduled to start the regular season Oct. 19, said that similar vaccine requirements could eventually be implemented in other markets. The league said that by Friday, all 30 teams will have to inform the league office which players are not fully vaccinated.
Players aren’t include in the NBA’s Oct. 1 deadline for all referees and team personnel to be fully vaccinated. ESPN reported that team personnel includes coaches, front-office members, trainers, broadcasters, scoreboard operators, photographers, security personnel, locker room attendants, medical staff, equipment managers, and food and beverage handlers and providers.