As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to do damage across the nation, the NBA is nearing the start of the 2020-21 season without a bubble environment.
Most teams will not allow any fans into their home arenas until further notice, but there are five that will apparently experiment with having a limited number of people in the stands.
“Currently, only five NBA teams – Utah, New Orleans, Orlando, Houston and Memphis – are continuing with plans to have at least some fans in arenas to start the season, per sources,” wrote David Aldridge of The Athletic. “(Phoenix, which was holding out as long as it could, announced Thursday it would not have fans in its building to start the season.)”
The bubble environment in Orlando, Fla. for last season’s NBA playoffs was a huge success, but the league is now in uncharted waters for this upcoming campaign.
Like everyone else, NBA teams, their players and their officials have to abide by any coronavirus restrictions instituted by the state or municipality they play in.
There are still a handful of states and jurisdictions that are allowing limited congregations of people in certain settings, even as new daily infections and deaths continue to break records.
With at least one coronavirus vaccine on the verge of being approved by the FDA, there’s perhaps the possibility, at least hypothetically, that it may be safe for more teams to allow some fans to attend games this spring and summer.