Canada has decreed that unvaccinated NBA players will not be able to enter the country and play in Toronto starting in January, according to reports.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Canadian health officials have said that starting Jan. 15, players must be fully vaccinated to play the Toronto Raptors. Raptors players are also required to be 100 percent fully vaccinated or face fines and suspensions.
Sources: Beginning Jan. 15, any NBA player who is not fully vaccinated will be unable to enter Canada to play games in Toronto. Canadian government will require all individuals entering Canada to be fully vaccinated.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 7, 2021
The announcement is not a big surprise. Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino had announced in Nov. that mandatory vaccine requirements for foreign visitors were set to be imposed in 2022.
In Nov., Mendicino said that “there will no longer be an exemption in place for professional and amateur athletes.”
The NBA has claimed that 95 percent of the league is now fully vaccinated.
A nurse prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 during the first day of the application of the third dose to people over 60 years-old at the Centro de Estudios Superiores Navales (CENCIS) in Mexico City, on December 7, 2021. (Photo by Pedro PARDO / AFP) (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)
The new rule does not pertain solely to the NBA, of course. The NHL has seven pro hockey teams in Canada. The NHL, though, still has not made any announcements about the new rule that is about to fall into place among our northern neighbors.
Indeed, Canada has pretty much eliminated all its previous exemptions for visitors. The exemption is also canceled for people traveling into Canada to reunite with family, international students over 18 years of age, cross-border essential workers, and most temporary foreign workers and essential service providers. All will now have to be fully vaccinated or be barred from entry.
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