In the wake of the omicron variant and a massive uptick in positive COVID-19 cases around the NBA, the Toronto Raptors have become the first organization to take enhanced measures.
According to MLSE, the Raptors ownership group, Scotiabank Arena, will move to 50 percent capacity starting on Saturday. They will be the first NBA franchise to reduce capacity this season.
Statement from MLSE & the Toronto Raptors. pic.twitter.com/yGlGn4FXmG
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 15, 2021
The news comes less than an hour after Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA and NBPA were discussing modifying the league’s health and safety protocols. Charania elaborated at The Athletic, noting that a bump in testing for all players is on the horizon. The league will reportedly not enforce testing on off days but could look to test on all game and practice days. For what it’s worth, this is already something the Chicago Bulls have grown used to, as they began daily testing after Coby White’s positive case earlier this month.
Fortunately, many of the cases we have seen around the league have been asymptomatic or mild. A likely reason for that is the NBA’s 95 percent vaccination rate. The vaccine may not eliminate the possibility of contracting the virus, but it does significantly reduce its effect on the body.
Anyway, this is a developing story, so it will be interesting to see what else the NBA might adjust as more positive cases begin to turn up. Could we see even more teams reduce capacity? I sure hope it doesn’t have to come to that.