Effective on Tuesday, the NBA will restrict locker room access to players and essential team personnel only.
The NBA, along with Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Hockey League (NHL) released the following joint statement:
“After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre-and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These temporary changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow’s games and practices.
We will continue to closely monitor this situations and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”
The current NBA policy allows media into locker rooms both pre- and postgame. Most players do their game-day interviews in the locker room area. This process often involves many media members crowded around a single player for an interview. There are often invited guests in the locker rooms as well.
In an attempt to try and keep players, coaches and staff as healthy as possible, the NBA will limit access and attempt to control the crowding around players and coaches. This means more interviews are likely to conducted in interview rooms with a podium setting, similar to the NBA playoffs.
This is just one of several steps the league is taking to protect their players. The NBA also recently asked teams to prepare contingency plans in case games had to played in closed arenas.