NBA All-Star 2021: what covid restrictions are there in the event?

For over a year the global community has been dealing with the covid-19 pandemic, the effects of which have been acutely felt across the sporting world.

NBA All-Star 2021: what covid restrictions are there in the event?
Alex Goodlett AFP

The NBA All-Star Game 2021 will have some notable differences to the years gone before it. Yes the best players of the league will be on show and the top two coaches will be sharing the appropriate tactics with them. But thanks to a global pandemic, a number of protocols need to be followed.

NBA All-Star Game 2021: covid restrictions

In addition to the measures laid out by the league's current Health and Safety Protocols, the NBA and NBPA have established additional rules to ensure the maximum protection for all involved.

These measures include private travel to and from Atlanta, the creation of what they are calling a 'mini bubble' environment within a single hotel for players and coaches, and enhanced PCR testing. Let's have a look in more detail at the protocols set out for both players and guests, as reported by the official NBA site.

All-Star player protocols:

1. Pre-All-Star Activities

For the period between a participating player’s last game before All-Star Weekend and his arrival in Atlanta, a player may leave his team market only to travel via private transportation to his out-of-market residence (for example, to be with his family at his home prior to All-Star Weekend). All participating players must continue to test daily.

2. Travel to and from Atlanta

On Saturday, 6 March, the NBA will provide private transportation (via charter flight or car service) to Atlanta for each participating player (and his guests). Following the All-Star Game on 7 March, players will depart Atlanta via private transportation provided by the NBA.

3. While in Atlanta

To protect against the risk of covid-19 transmission, participating players and their guests will be required to remain at their designated hotel (which will be exclusive to NBA players, their guests, and personnel), except to participate in All-Star activities. There will be health-focused limitations on interactions among players and with other players’ guests.

4. Coronavirus Testing

Participating players, their guests, and personnel will be required to follow a league-designated testing program in Atlanta that will involve at least daily PCR testing and additional testing on Sunday, 7 March prior to All-Star events.

All-Star guest protocols:

1. Eligible Guests

Consistent with the policy for player guests during the 2019-20 Season Restart in Orlando, each participating player will be able to bring to Atlanta up to four family members, longtime close personal friends, or their certified agent (“Player Guests”), provided that such Player Guests comply with all applicable protocols and requirements, including relating to testing and private travel. Each participating player in the All-Star Game will also be able to bring one health-focused staff member (who may be a team staff member) to help the player prepare on Sunday 7 March for All-Star events.

2. Pre-All-Star Activities

From Saturday 27 February through Player Guests’ departure for Atlanta, they will be required to self-quarantine at home with limited exceptions.

3. Coronavirus Testing

Player Guests must undergo regular PCR testing as directed by the NBA, including immediately leading up to arrival in Atlanta and while in Atlanta for All-Star activities.

4. Arena Access

Player Guests may attend the All-Star Game and All-Star Skills Competitions in accordance with protocols established by the NBA.

Note that for the well-being and safety of the greater Atlanta community, there will be no fan activities, ticketed events or hospitality functions as part of the All-Star Game 2021.