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NBA Changes COVID Testing, Mask Rules

The league moves to respond to the spread of COVID-19 among its members.

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NBA: Preseason-Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA will now conduct COVID-19 tests daily for all players and personnel in Tier 1 from December 26th through January 8th. Tier 1 members include staff in direct contact with players and members of traveling parties. In addition, all players and personnel from Tier 1 will be required to wear masks at all times “at team facilities, in the locker room, during games and when traveling, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated.” The news about this policy change comes from Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The announcement coincides with a surge in players and team personnel entering Health and Safety Protocols because of COVID-19. The Chicago Bulls experienced a massive wave early this week, and have now been followed by the Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, Sacramento Kings, and Los Angeles Lakers.

The testing will begin after the league’s Christmas Day schedule, traditionally the most visible and profitable day of the regular season. Five games are scheduled for the holiday, all nationally-televised. Participants include the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Golden State Warriors, as well as the Nets and Lakers.

The Portland Trail Blazers face the Charlotte Hornets tonight. Hornets players LaMelo Ball, Jalen McDaniels, Mason Plumlee and Terry Rozier have all entered Health and Safety Protocols in December.