As the CDC continues to loosen restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated, the NBA is following in its footsteps.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, coaches who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear facemasks while coaching games.
The NBA’s decision to loosen restrictions comes just in time for the playoffs.
According to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (h/t The Seattle Times), assistant coaches and players will still be required to wear masks in the bench area.
Head coaches will also be required to wear masks during halftime, during warmups and shootaround before the start of the third quarter and postgame, Reynolds adds.
Coaches have been required to wear masks all season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the playoffs, the league said it was making the mask change “to facilitate in-game coaching duties, and in light of vaccination rates among NBA head coaches,” per Reynolds.
The NBA will see a large influx of fans for the postseason because of the CDC’s new guidelines. The Miami Heat have increased capacity to 17,000 fans, the New York Knicks will welcome 15,000 fans and the Boston Celtics could be at near full capacity after Massachusetts announced it would lift all COVID-19 restrictions at the end of the month.