Guidelines for fans in arenas

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - November 13, 2020 - 12:00am

The NBA will have the rookie draft on Nov. 18 (Nov 19 PH time) and two days later, negotiations with about 100 free agents will start, with signings allowed by 12:01pm on Nov. 22 (12:01am Nov. 23 PH time).  Training camp begins on Dec. 1. 

Anthony Davis and Brandon Ingram belong to the free agent class but I doubt if they will be changing zip codes.  Other notables are Rajon Rondo, Gordon Hayward, Andre Drummond, DeMar DeRozan, Mike Conley, Danilo Gallinari, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, Jordan Clarkson, Carmelo Anthony, Marc Gasol, Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver.

Not all of them will be in the open market as some have player and team options attached to their contracts and if they’re picked up, they’ll be automatically under contract for the 2020-2021 season with a pre-determined amount.  Restricted free agents will have their mother teams holding their rights to match any deals offered to them.

With the pandemic still an issue and the US breaching 10.5 million cases, the NBA last Wednesday sent a memo regarding CoVid-19 health guidelines to 30 teams that would like to have fans inside their arenas. 

According to The Athletic reporter Shams Charania, the league gave a directive to teams “with protocols for eligible markets to host fans, requiring people within 30 of court to register negative corona virus test two days prior to game or rapid test on day of the game.”

Charania also reported that fans will be required to always wear mask while inside the playing venue, go thru symptom surveys and socially distance.  Food and drinks will not be allowed also within 30 feet of the court.  Teams will have the option to install plexiglass shields behind their benches.

Fans inside arena suites won’t have to go thru Covid testing if it they are occupied at 25% or less.  A 50% capacity on the suites will be allowed if all will test negative and if the city’s positivity rate is 3% or below, or new cases per 100,000 residents is 10 or lower.

Maybe the PBA can follow the guidelines given by the NBA for the next conference.  It would be a welcome break for Filipino basketball fans who had been cooped for several months.  As long as the proper protocols are implemented and followed, perhaps fans returning to watch PBA games will be possible. 

Like what is done at the Clark PBA bubble, afternoon games could be held only at the Mall of Asia Arena to ensure social distancing.



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