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Players’ families must quarantine off-site before entering NBA’s Orlando bubble

Big East Tournament First Round: Georgetown vs St. John's

NEW YORK, NY - March 11: A basketball falls through the hoop during the first round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)

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Not having family and friends on the Walt Disney World campus has drawn intense complaints from players who don’t want to spend at least a month and maybe 50+ days away from the people they are closest to. Understandably, some teams and coaches are pushing to get families in earlier.

Even when that family does arrive, they will have to quarantine for days in another part of Orlando before they can enter the NBA’s bubble and see their loved one, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times.

According to the 113-page handbook of health and safety protocols put together by the league, teams can do this three-day quarantine for families in their home market — the Bucks could do it in Milwaukee, for example — but it must be overseen by the team and include coronavirus testing of family members. The league may have changed that to allow for only doing this initial quarantine in Orlando; the league’s original plan called for a seven-day quarantine once on the Disney campus, not just the four Stein reports (that quarantine still includes not seeing the player that is their family member).

Family will not go through these steps and be let into the bubble until after the first round of the playoffs. That means only eight teams will be allowed to bring in any family, and it will already be 50 days or more into the NBA’s Orlando experiment. Those family members have to follow the same health protocols — regular coronavirus testing, wearing a mask in public, etc. — that the players do.

It’s a lot, but the league wants to create a safe environment in Orlando, one where the virus is kept out (and if/when it gets in to be quickly contained). It sees this as the only way to pull off the restart in a state and nation where the number of coronavirus cases is on the rise again as governments open up the economy.