Title: Raptors taking ‘reasonable’ approach in limited reopening of practice facility
Date: May 8, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors reopening OVO Athletic Centre in the time of COVID-19 under a tight set of restrictions for player safety.
The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that they will allow limited player access to OVO Athletic Centre beginning May 11. While the opening comes three days after the NBA opened the same window for teams in locales where government policy allows, the Raptors approached their decision and the specifics of their plan independently.
“I think this goes all the way back to the start of when this all began in mid-March. I think we’ve all tried to be as thoughtful and thorough as we can with every decision that we’ve made,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said on a conference call Friday. “And so in consultation and with approval from public health, and our own doctors and internal resources — we’ve talked to some of the infectious disease experts — I think this is where we came out that we felt comfortable. It wasn’t necessarily something (where) we compared ourselves to the NBA. It was almost like an independent decision that we came to based on where we want to be, based on the guidelines that we’ve all seen … I don’t think it was necessarily compared to the NBA rule, I think it was more something that we developed internally.”
The Raptors are taking extra precautions in their reopening, beyond the reported guidelines the NBA provided in a recent memo. The Raptors and MLSE are also working closely with local government, infectious disease experts and public health authorities to create and maintain strict protocols to ensure the limited level of activity is safe. Webster indicated on his call that the team had to submit a detailed proposal for local and provincial government approval, subject to some back-and-forth and feedback.