In cities and states where local governments have eased stay-at-home orders, the NBA is reportedly allowing teams to open their practice facilities to players on May 1, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Upon reopening, facilities will be available to players if they choose to use them for individual work, Wojnarowski added, but larger group workouts will continue to be prohibited.
States such as Georgia have recently reopened some aspects of its economy, while others like New York remain under extensive lockdown to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
In Ontario, home of the Toronto Raptors, all gatherings of five or more people are banned at the moment, with no exceptions currently in place for sporting activities and it is not immediately clear if an arrangement could be made to allow players to engage in solo practices should the NBA’s decision go into effect.
These discrepancies in how local authorities are approaching stay-at-home orders are something the NBA has considered, according to Wojnarowski, with the league planning to work with teams on other arrangements for players in those markets.
At this time, it is not clear what those arrangements may be.
Allowing the reopening of practice facilities does not mean a resumption of the 2019-20 season is imminent, however, Wojnarowski noted, and the NBA remains uncertain if or when players will be able to return to play. But taking the step of safely enabling practice environments was one of the league’s priority.
The NBA’s season has been on pause since March 11 after Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
As of Friday night, there have been 926,465 reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States, according to a database maintained by the New York Times, and over 47,500 deaths.