NBA pushes plan to reopen facilities until May 8 at earliest

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FILE – In this March 11, 2020 photo, fans leave the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., after the NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings was postponed at the last minute over an “abundance of caution” after a player for the Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus. A person with knowledge of the situation says NBA players will be allowed to return to team training facilities starting Friday, May 1 provided that their local governments do not have a stay-at-home order prohibiting such movement. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

MIAMI | The NBA has pushed back plans that would allow teams to reopen their practice facilities for at least one week, and cautioned that the new target is far from set in stone.

The earliest that teams can reopen for voluntary player workouts is now May 8, the NBA said Monday — and that would only be the case in places where local and state laws made such a move permissible.

And when those facilities are open, the rules will be very different: A person with direct knowledge of the league’s plans told The Associated Press that players will have to wear face masks when in the facility, except when they are actually working out. Staff members would have to wear face masks and gloves at all times, said the person who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because those details were not publicly announced.

Other restrictions when facilities reopen will include a limit of four players at a facility at any time, no group activities will be permitted and no head coaches or assistant coaches can be involved in the workouts.

The NBA suspended the season March 11. It ordered teams to shutter their facilities eight days later, saying at the time it was doing so “in light of the rapidly-developing coronavirus situation, and consistent with evolving advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the virus.”