A screen welcomes fans back to Madison Square Garden in New York City for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak on February 23, 2021.
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Unvaccinated players for three marquee NBA teams would have to suspend home games in the coming season under local coronavirus restrictions.
New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors players must be vaccinated to play in their home arenas unless they have a valid religious or medical exception, the league told the front offices in a memo dated from CNBC Wednesday with. The requirement does not apply to guest players.
Both New York City and San Francisco have rules that require people over the age of 12 to show they have received a Covid-19 vaccine in order to enter arenas, gyms, restaurants, and other indoor events. The rules apply to team arenas and practice facilities in these cities, the NBA said.
Players in New York and San Francisco can face fines or bans for getting vaccinated without a valid exception.
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The NBA has not mandated Covid-19 vaccines for players. However, the league needs referees as well as team and arena staff to interact with the players in order to vaccinate against the virus.
New York and San Francisco announced their vaccine needs amid a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases triggered by the Delta variant. New York requires people to have at least one vaccination to enter sheltered stores, while San Francisco requires people to be fully vaccinated.
The NBA said player requirements will go into effect on September 13 and October 13 in New York and San Francisco, respectively. The league noted that other cities across the country might consider similar vaccination rules.
The NBA training camp begins on September 28th. The season starts on October 19th. The Nets will play against the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks and the Warriors against the Los Angeles Lakers that evening.
“We will continue to obey all government and league mandates,” the Knicks said in a statement.
The Warriors and Nets both declined to comment.
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