By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
After being shut out of their building for two and a half months as part of both the NBA and City of Boston’s COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, the Boston Celtics will be allowed back into the Auerbach Center beginning June 1, the team confirmed Friday.
“We’re happy that our players will now have the option to work out individually in a safe environment at the Auerbach Center, and we hope it signals a step back towards playing basketball again,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement.
In their statement, the Celtics noted that they worked with The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The City of Boston, and the NBA — along with “public health authorities and infectious disease experts” — on their way to this decision. This definitive date also comes the same day Governor Charlie Baker gave the go-ahead for teams to resume practicing next week.
It’s probably come with a sigh of relief on the part of Ainge, too, as he had recently expressed some frustration that the Celtics were not allowed to work in what he considered “the cleanest environment that anybody’s working at in the country.”
This return to the Auerbach Center will with its share of guidelines, however, and the Celtics acknowledged are more than prepared to follow all rules and standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The protocol will include, but are not limited to the following:
- Workouts are voluntary & will be conducted in strict accordance with city, state, CDC, and NBA requirements and guidelines.
- Symptom and temperature checks will be done by team medical staff before anyone enters the facility.
- Workouts will be limited to individual (1-on-0) shooting, strength and conditioning work, and medical evaluation and therapy as needed.
- Only essential areas will be accessed. There will be no access to locker rooms, showers, hydrotherapy, medical exam rooms, cafeteria, and offices.
- Only four players will be able to work out at a time, each working with only one staff member at a time. There will be no more than one player per half court at a time.
- All staff members will wear masks in the building, and any staff member working with a player must wear gloves. Players will wear masks except while engaging in physical activity. Players and staff will adhere to CDC and NBA compliant social distancing standards at all times.
- Social distancing will be required in the building except in limited specific instances (e.g. physical therapy), when PPE will be used.
- A thorough cleaning and disinfection of all spaces and equipment, including basketballs, will take place before and after each player uses the building.
- Only staff members essential to these workouts will be present at the Auerbach Center. There will be no access for general staff, public, or media.
The NBA, which paused its season on Mar. 11 following a positive test from Utah’s Rudy Gobert, is reportedly looking at a July 31 return date, likely at Orlando Disney World’s and at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.