Walt Disney World is currently working on three major plans: reopening their theme parks, hosting the NBA for the remainder of the season and coordinating with Major League Soccer to finish their season.
Tuesday night, the NBA released a 100+ page packet to players, coaches and other personnel about how operating the remainder of the season will happen at Walt Disney World.
Teams will stay at three Disney hotels: Gran Destino Tower, Grand Floridian and Yacht Club. The players and coaches can’t leave Walt Disney World property. Disney and the NBA will provide entertainment and self-care offerings.
The NBA described very specific plans to players and teams for the restart on Tuesday, doing so in a memo and handbook both obtained by The Associated Press. With safety being of the foremost importance during the coronavirus pandemic, players were told they will be tested regularly — but not with the deep nasal swabs — and must adhere to strict physical distancing and mask-wearing policies.
Most teams will arrive in Florida on July 7, 8 or 9. A person with knowledge of the situation said the reigning champion Toronto Raptors, the lone NBAteam based outside of the U.S., will be permitted to gather for some pre-camp workouts — under strict guidelines that other teams will follow in their own cities — before that arrival date. The Raptors are likely to train somewhere in Florida, said the person who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because no deal has yet been signed.
For the Raptors, it’s been an area of concern largely because of current Canadian government regulations that call for a 14-day quarantine for people returning to Canada. Some Raptors players are in Toronto right now; some are in the U.S.
Nobody on the NBA’s Disney campus, which has been loosely described as a bubble, will be allowed in anyone else’s sleeping room. The NBA also told players and teams that it will work with one or more outside health care companies to provide a medical clinic with X-ray and MRI capability on the campus — critical, since in theory the league would not want players and team staff leaving and potentially facing coronavirus exposure by going outside of the Disney property for such exams.
The league’s plan also spells out how training rooms and meeting rooms will be utilized, the procedures for practice-court usage — three-hour blocks per team, all scheduled, with one open hour in between sessions for cleaning and sanitizing — and even how team and player laundry will be handled.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that if a player does not feel comfortable playing at Disney — whether for health reasons or because of current social-justice issues — then he does not have to report with his team and will not be disciplined, other than losing salary for games missed.
The NBA is planning on games in three arenas during the seeding-game portion of the restart, the ones where each of the 22 teams going to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex will play eight games before the playoffs begin. Teams will be housed in three hotels, with between six and eight teams in each.
Other plans the NBA has for the restart include mental health professionals being available for players and coaches; pregame chapel services, done virtually; yoga and meditation; three meals a day and four meals on game days; and restaurant availability.
Teams can bring up to 35 people as part of the basketball operations group, which includes players, a senior executive, an athletic trainer, a strength and conditioning coach, an equipment manager and security.