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The San Francisco Department of Public Health may play a role in whether Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins can play home games this season if he remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, and there is reportedly “increasing concern” from the team.
Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Warriors are worried about Wiggins availability, especially early in the season, because he is not vaccinated.
Wiggins told reporters in March, “I don’t really see myself getting it any time soon, unless I’m forced to,” when discussing the vaccine.
Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the NBA is not requiring players to be vaccinated this season in part because it is a “non-starter” in negotiations with the Players’ Association.
Yet Simmons explained unvaccinated players will need a religious or medical exemption from the league to play home games where local jurisdictions require vaccines to enter the arena, which is the case in San Francisco where the Warriors play.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health could override an exemption even if Wiggins is given one.
“We are actively addressing the matter of requests for religious exemption from vaccinations across many industries and will work with our business and entertainment community on next steps,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a statement. “We will provide further clarification on this topic.”
Holmes and Wojnarowski noted approximately 85 percent of the NBA’s players are vaccinated. The league will also potentially implement stricter protocols for those who aren’t, including requirements that they eat, fly and ride buses in different sections than vaccinated teammates and have lockers that are socially distanced.
The league is discussing such protocols with the Players’ Association.
This will be Wiggins’ second full season with the Warriors. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded him to Golden State during the 2019-20 campaign.
Golden State starts its 2021-22 season on Oct. 19 against the Los Angeles Lakers.