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The NBA has announced it will still hold this year's All-Star Weekend in Atlanta, however, things may look a little different. Keeping attendees and players safe in the face of a pandemic has made it necessary to take further precautions than in the past. 

The event will bring the league's most talented and high-profile players together in one place. With players in extremely close physical contact during the game, it is imperative to protect them as much as possible. 

Here are a few of the ways that All-Star events will look different than in the past.

Private Travel

All players and a limited number of guests must travel privately via charter flight or car service to Atlanta for the weekend, rather than groups of players traveling together. 

They will also be required to arrive no earlier than the day before the game and must return to their home market at least two days prior to their next regular-season game. 

This protocol will help reduce the amount of time that players from different teams spend together during the weekend. Guests will be limited to four per player and must be family members, close friends, or a designated personal trainer.

Zero Fan Activities

The league will not hold any fan activities as they have in years past. In order to maximize participants' safety and protect the surrounding community, only players, coaches, their personal guests and staff will be allowed in the arena. 

Instead, fans can tune in to coverage on a sports radio station, such as 98.5, or watch the events on television. Although fans may be disappointed in their inability to attend or participate, this protocol will help keep the Atlanta area safe.

Single Day of Events

For the first time ever, all events will be held in a single day. The day will kick off with players participating in a skills challenge and a 3-point contest. This will be followed by the first half of the All-Star game, with a dunk contest to be held at half-time. 

The game itself will still follow the traditional format. Each team will compete to win the first three quarters. The fourth quarter will not be timed, but will instead be over when one team reaches the predetermined target score.

Enhanced Covid-19 Testing

The league's normal testing guidelines will be amped up for the event. All participants, staff, and attendees of the Atlanta affair will require daily testing immediately leading up to the weekend to ensure they are traveling virus-free. 

They will also need to participate in daily PCR testing for Covid-19 throughout the weekend. Additional testing may be required as the need arises during the event.

Mini Bubble Environment

Based on the successful model that the league utilized during the previous playoff season, the NBA will attempt to create a mini-bubble for this event. 

Prior to the event, all participants must quarantine from the date of their last game to the date of their arrival in Atlanta. The only exception to leaving their home market will be to travel to their own out-of-market home. This travel must be done via private transportation. 

Players and approved guests will only be allowed to leave their hotel to attend All-Star events. The hotel will be filled exclusively with players and those associated with the event in order to minimize contact with the public. 

Attendance of any events not related to All-Star weekend will not be allowed. Limitations will also be imposed on interactions between players and with other players' guests.

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While All-Star Weekend may look a little different this year, the league hopes to be able to showcase players' talents as they always have. 

The event will operate as safely as possible while still showing fans the high-level talent their players possess. These additional safety protocols will also help to ensure that the NBA season can continue without additional virus spread after the event wraps up.

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