As the omicron variant sweeps NBA players and coaches, it also hit a season high among game officials: 36% of league officials are on COVID-19 protocols, sources told ESPN. Thursday.
With 25 of the league’s 70 active umpires currently in quarantine, the league has been promoting G League umpires to fill out the game roster, sources said.
There have been rare cases lately where only two umpires, rather than three, were available for games, but the NBA has continued to work to limit those occasions, the sources said.
The G League has halted its season until Wednesday to allow players and umpires to be available to the NBA.
NBA referees are 100% vaccinated and should receive a full booster by Wednesday, the sources said. Only a percentage of umpires currently on the road have not received a booster, but must do so by Wednesday.
Umpires don’t have the protection that teams have with charter flights and five-star hotels, but the NBA has been working with the National Association of Basketball Umpires on travel-related improvements, including hotels, that could help decrease exposure to the virus, sources said.