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Warriors' Andrew Wiggins loses bid for COVID vaccine exemption; NBA honors SF policy

Sporting News logo Sporting News 9/25/2021 Tom Gatto

The Warriors' home opener for the 2021-22 NBA season is Oct. 21 against the Clippers. As of now, Andrew Wiggins won't suit up for it.

Wiggins won't get to take the court at the Chase Center that night unless he complies with a San Francisco health order and is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 beforehand. He has resisted getting the vaccine to this point, and the NBA has declined to give him an out. The league on Friday denied his request for a religious exemption.

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"Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city's vaccination requirements," the NBA said in a statement.

Wiggins had not responded on social media as of early Saturday. He said in March, about five months before the policy went into effect, he would not get the vaccine "unless I'm forced to, somehow."

The Warriors have not released a statement.

What parts of the San Francisco policy are relevant to the Warriors?

Mayor London Breed announced Aug. 12 that, by order of the city's Department of Heath, people would need to provide proof of being vaccinated to enter a large number of venues in the city. Where the order relates to the Warriors:

San Francisco's order creates a new proof of vaccination requirement for large events at indoor venues, requiring attendees who are age 12 or older at events with 1,000 people or more to provide proof of vaccination. Previously, state and local rules required proof of vaccination or testing to attend indoor mega-events with 5,000 people or more. Under the updated San Francisco order, providing a self-attestation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in lieu of proof of vaccination are no longer options for people 12 and older to attend these indoor large or mega-events.

The Warriors will welcome capacity crowds to the 18,000-seat Chase Center to begin the season.

By when does Andrew Wiggins need to be vaccinated to play in home games?

The NBA's announcement made it clear that Wiggins needs to be vaccinated as soon as possible in order to play. The Warriors' two home exhibitions this year are Oct. 6 vs. the Nuggets and Oct. 8 vs. the Lakers. The team's first regular-season home game is Oct. 21.

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Under San Francisco's new policy, affected employees must provide proof of being vaccinated beginning Oct. 13.

The health order requirement for proof of full vaccination for patrons of indoor public settings, including bars, restaurants, clubs and gyms goes into effect on Aug. 20. This requirement includes indoor event spaces where food or drink is served. By that same date, those businesses must use their best efforts to ascertain the vaccination status of their employees. To preserve jobs while giving time for compliance, the proof of vaccination requirement for staff goes into effect Oct. 13 for employees.

Per the health department's order, employees must "complete a one- or two-shot vaccine regimen by Sept. 29" to meet the Oct. 13 deadline.

Is San Francisco the only NBA city with such a policy for team personnel?

San Francisco is one of two NBA cities where home-team players must be vaccinated. New York is the other. Knicks general manager Scott Perry said all players, coaches and staff are vaccinated. Nets general manager Sean Marks said "a couple" Brooklyn players were not yet eligible to play. The Nets' first home game is Oct. 24.

Visiting players are not bound by either city's policy.

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