NBA players, coaches concerned about Disney staff COVID-19 protocols


The NBA is set to restart the 2019-2020 season on July 30 in Disney World, Florida. For safety reasons, players, coaches, and trainers will be quarantined in Disney World until the season ends. However, the Disney staff who will maintain the facility won’t be subjected to the same quarantine rules. NBA players and coaches find that disconcerting.

While media personnel necessary to broadcast games will be subjected to the same protocols as NBA teams, Disney staffers are exempted. They can come and go as they please, even while performing their duties to maintain the NBA-Disney bubble.

According to Bleacher Report, NBA players and coaches spoke up in a virtual town hall meeting. They find that the rules concerning the Disney staffers pose a considerable health risk. NBA personnel are allowed to come and go, but they will have to take a COVID-19 test and undergo a 14-day quarantine upon return. Given the tight schedule, that would mean missing a few games. The same rules do not apply to Disney staffers who will be fulfilling their housekeeping, security, and catering duties.

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is also concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Florida. At the moment, the restrictions set upon NBA personnel and broadcasting staff to access the NBA-Disney bubble is sufficient to reduce the risk of infection. But, if other people with access to the same area are not under the same restrictions, then the NBPA hopes that the league as a whole implements them.

Under the planned schedule, teams could start arriving as early as the first week of July to complete the mandatory 14-day isolation period before the first match-up on the 30th. It could last up to the second week of October if the NBA Finals last until Game 7. It means some people will stay in the bubble for a maximum of 16 weeks.

The length of time poses a significant risk to players and coaches when exposed to people who can come and go as they please in the contained environment. The current protocols set in place are not yet final, it may change depending on NBA resources and their negotiation with Disney management.

The NBA halted the season on March 11, 2020 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive for deadly COVID-19 GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Jeenah Moon