ORLANDO, FL—The NBA bubble will begin to allow guests as soon as after the first round of the playoffs.
The NBA decided to create the “NBA bubble,” to protect against the spread of COVID-19. The bubble consisted of 22 teams invited to be part of this approach to battling the pandemic. The players, coaches, and staff of each of these teams were all placed in one area with the presumption that if all individuals participating quarantined at the start and were all tested continuously, the risk of being infected by COVID would be slim to none.
Players and staff arrived to the bubble on July 7, located at The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, and were to self-isolate in their rooms for at least 48 hours or until they received two negative test results. Individuals were not allowed to leave for any reason other than elimination from contention. Each team was to only have essential members of their team in the bubble, such as players, coaching, and staff. The NBA recently agreed to allow guests into the bubble.
Teams will now be allowed to add guests to the bubble if and when they advance in the playoffs. For instance, if a team makes it past the first round, they can add two staff members, and then another pair if the team reaches the conference finals. Additionally, each of the eight teams remaining in the end, will be allowed to reserve up to 17 hotel rooms for guests, with one guest room per player, paid by the player.
The new addition does come with rules. The NBA will allow up to four guests per player with exceptions for children. Guests are preferred to be family, but non-family guests can be allowed entry, so long as they provide proof of a “longstanding relationship” with the player in question. Agents, trainers, chefs, and the like, will not be permitted.
Given that players and staff had rules to follow upon arrival to the “bubble,” guests would be expected to follow similar protocol. Guests are expected to self-quarantine for a week (either a full week in the bubble, or three days outside and four days inside) before they can be cleared.
Once quarantine is over, guests will undergo daily COVID-19 testing for four days. Anyone who tests positive will undergo the same protocol the league places on its players and staff.