Hawks will reach vaccination threshold to relax restrictions next month

Thirteen Hawks players who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in mid-March (those who were eligible at the time, before Georgia expanded eligibility to anyone over 16 beginning March 25) received their second dose Thursday, the AJC has learned.

In addition, at least two more players received their first dose, so at least 85% of the team has received its first dose. Since those players will have to wait weeks to get their second dose, the Hawks will not surpass the 85% fully vaccinated threshold the NBA has set to relax coronavirus restrictions until the final week of the regular season. Their final game is May 16 vs. Houston.

That’s because the NBA considers someone fully vaccinated one week after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, and there’s a lag time between the first and second doses.

But, that will help the Hawks for the playoffs, which they seem to be headed toward. It would also help them if they had to participate in the play-in tournament, which begins May 18.

Once teams achieve that 85% clip, fully vaccinated individuals won’t have to wear masks while at the practice facility, will be permitted to eat indoors or outdoors at restaurants (depending on what local ordinances allow) and there will be more flexibility to leave the team hotel and eat on flights for members of the traveling party.

They also will get more convenient COVID-19 testing times, which will help players get increased rest time in the mornings, and can participate in in-person meetings in locations other than just on the court and large meeting rooms at the hotel.