Updated NBA guidelines: Players on bench must wear masks

While the NBA has done relatively well keeping the coronavirus in check during the regular season — there were zero positive tests the time data was released, but this week the Bulls were hit by a small outbreak — the league is tightening up its guidelines.

That includes NBA players on the bench wearing masks until they enter the game, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

After exiting court, active players are strongly recommended to wear mask in bench area. The requirement resets at halftime (wear mask at start of second half until they enter the game). Inactive players remain required to wear mask for entire game. https://t.co/FjpAEGKltP

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 4, 2021

Coaches and staff are already required to wear a mask in the team settings. Not coincidentally, this comes one day after seven Clippers staffers had to be quarantined from the team after a positive test on staff.

With cases still at a peak around the United States, and with the United Kingdom variant of the virus that is more transmissible being found in the USA, the league is taking extra precautions to keep the virus at bay until players can be vaccinated later this year.

As much as potentially helping with coronavirus spread in this setting — players are tested daily, but it is possible to have and spread the disease before testing positive — it is a perception thing. The league wants to promote the wearing of masks; having players on the bench wearing them helps.

Starting Tuesday, expect to see even more masks on the sidelines of NBA games.