Despite a number of obstacles, including the surge of coronavirus cases in Florida, the NBA is moving forward with its plan to resume the 2019-20 season at Disney World. Next week, teams will begin traveling to Orlando, with staggered arrival times between July 7-9.
Once players arrive, they’ll be required to isolate in their hotel rooms until they return two negative COVID-19 tests, at least 24 hours apart. From then on, assuming they’re cleared, they’ll begin the long process of living in the bubble, or campus environment, as the league is calling it.
As long as their team is still alive, players will be expected to remain on the campus. No one will be prevented from leaving, but if they go off campus and try to return — aside from extenuating circumstances where they have league approval — they will face a strict quarantine and re-testing procedure.
The rules and procedures everyone is supposed to follow have been a major topic of conversation. While the players have now signed off on things, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard isn’t confident that all the rules will actually be followed.
“My confidence ain’t great,” Lillard said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “My confidence ain’t great because you’re telling me you’re gonna have 22 teams full of players following all the rules? When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don’t follow all the rules. I don’t have much confidence. But, hopefully, it’ll be handled to a point where we’re not putting everybody at risk or in a dangerous position.”
With how specific some of the details are — no doubles in ping pong, throwing away playing cards after each use — there’s no chance that everyone is going to follow these procedures perfectly. As Lillard notes, even with complete freedom, people are still looking to cut corners, so there’s little reason to think the same won’t be the case with so many restrictions in place.
The hope, though, is that players will abide by the most important rules — wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, staying on campus, etc. Those health and safety guidelines are critical to keeping everyone safe, and adhering to them will greatly reduce the chance of the virus spreading throughout the campus.