As Canada's government begins to discuss the reopening of the borders, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced travel exemptions for NHL players via Twitter, saying that U.S. hockey players who are travelling to Canada to play in the Stanley Cup will not have to complete the required 14 days of isolation. Canada provided the NHL travel exemptions so the Montreal Canadiens could play in the championship series. The Montreal Canadiens play the Las Vegas Golden Knights tonight in Las Vegas and return to Canada Friday.
Calling it a matter of "national interest," the player's travel exemptions will require:
- quarantine at pre-approved hotels and arenas
- living in a quarantine bubble of the team hotel and arena
- rules limiting or forbidding their interaction with the public.
- pre and post-arrival daily testing
- a comprehensive protocol that will apply to all travelling NHL players and personnel
- travel between countries using private planes
While the "national interest' travel exemptions pleased sports fans, the same travel exemptions are not available for business travellers who are trying to preserve Canadian jobs and help the Canadian economy.
Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah said,
It's very frustrating for companies and individuals who need to cross the Canada / United States border for business reasons - essential workers in banking, commerce, manufacturing - and have to abide by the quarantine, yet hockey players receive a travel exemption.
The current border closing is in place until June 21. Prime Minister Trudeau has said that 75% of Canadians need to be vaccinated before travel restrictions can ease. As vaccination rates are rising and COVID cases are falling, there is speculation that the borders could reopen as early as June 21.
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