Less than two months ahead of the regular season tip-off, the NBA says it’s requiring referees and other personnel who work with players during the 2021-22 season to be fully vaccinated.
“All referees must be fully vaccinated unless they have a religious or medical exemption. The referees have also agreed to take any recommended boosters,” the league said in a statement Saturday. “Any referee who does not get vaccinated and is not exempt will be ineligible to work games.”
The NBA said it had reached an agreement with the National Basketball Referees Association on the vaccination requirement.
The regular season tips off on October 19. NBA players are not required to be vaccinated, but some teams are asking fans who attend games to show proof of vaccination.
The league also sent a memo to teams on Friday, saying that any personnel who interact with players or referees must be fully vaccinated for the season.
“Any team personnel whose role or access involves in-person interaction with, or activity conducted within 15 feet of, any (1) player, (2) referee, or (3) other team personnel who has a role that involves in-person interaction with, or activity conducted within 15 feet of, any player or referee” must be vaccinated by October 1, said the memo, which was obtained by CNN.
Game-day personnel must be vaccinated by the team’s first preseason home game. Preseason starts October 3.
Coaches, trainers, front office personnel, and team security, among others, are impacted by this policy.
Any staffer who isn’t fully vaccinated will not have any interaction with players or referees and will be required to always wear a face mask at team facilities, the memo said.
Unvaccinated staffers will also be prohibited from being on the bench during games, will not be allowed in the locker, weight, or training rooms, may not attend in-person meetings, and cannot travel with the team.
Training camps start on September 28 for NBA teams.