Only fully vaccinated athletes can enter Canada starting Jan. 15
As of Jan. 15, 2022, professional and amateur athletes who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be exempt from current health measures governing travel into Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced Friday.
Both MLB and the NBA have operated under national interest exemptions since their lone Canadian franchises - the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors - resumed play north of the border in recent months.
The exemptions allow unvaccinated athletes from the leagues to bypass Canada's mandatory quarantine periods. Instead, the athletes provide proof of a negative test prior to entering the country, then must remain within their team hotel or their respective arenas until departing back to the United States.
The NHL, which boasts seven Canadian franchises, elected not to seek out the exemption, citing how few of its athletes remained unvaccinated.
In late September, 95% of NBA players had received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Most notably, Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving has not played this season owing to his current inability to participate in games in New York state.
The Canadian government said Friday that it will continue to evaluate its current health measures and adjust accordingly.
"The situation at our borders remains closely monitored, with officials and experts continuing their work to evaluate the measures in place and recommend necessary adjustments as required," Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada's Minister of Health, said in a statement.