The NBA released a memo stating that the league will relax health and safety protocols for fully-vaccinated players, including reducing coronavirus testing, quarantine requirements, limitations on socializing, and eating at restaurants.
The protocol changes will apply to any person “who is 2 weeks past their final dose and any team where 85% of players and 85% of staff are fully-vaccinated.”
— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) March 18, 2021
Fully-vaccinated players or team personnel can have visitors at home or on the road without testing or registering with the team and they can participate in in-person sponsorship or marketing events.
Fully-vaccinated teams don’t have to wear masks at practice facilities, can leave the team hotel when on the road more than twice a day, and eat on the team plane.
The announcement came after Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet revealed he had battled COVID and would not wish the virus on anyone.
According to an ESPN report, the New Orleans Pelicans are the only team to acknowledge a team-wide effort for vaccination
“The Pelicans support the state’s vital efforts to encourage everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as large-scale vaccination of our community is the best way to keep everyone safe and to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” New Orleans said in a statement Sunday.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 16 or older on Tuesday.
“The three COVID vaccines we have are safe and effective, and everyone who qualifies should get the shot as soon as they can,” said deputy chief of staff for communications for Gov. Edwards, in a statement to ESPN. “People, like members of the Pelicans, can consult with their doctors about if they might qualify because of their health conditions.”
Pelican Nicolo Melli expressed his excitement to get his first shot on Twitter.
I got the first Covid vaccine shot yesterday. I feel lucky that I had this opportunity. Can’t wait to get second shot in three weeks.
If you can, get it. #vaccine
— Nicolò Melli (@NikMelli) March 14, 2021
League officials are hoping the relaxed restrictions will motivate more players to get vaccinated.