Unvaccinated NBA players won’t be allowed to travel or play in Canada

December 7, 2021
NBA players who have not received their COVID vaccination will not be allowed to play in Canada, the league told teams in a memo.
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NBA players who are not fully vaccinated will not be able to play games in Toronto beginning Jan. 15, per a mandate by the Canadian government, and teams were informed in a memo sent on Tuesday.

Canada had an exemption for non-fully vaccinated athletes allowing them to play in the country, but Canada’s minister of public safety announced the updated mandate on Nov. 19.

“Any player who is not fully vaccinated and does not have a medical contraindication to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will be unable to enter Canada to play in games in Toronto,” the league said in a memo.

The league said 97% of its players are vaccinated (about 15 players are not). Of that number, 60% have received a booster, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person requested anonymity because they were no authorized to speak publicly.

Any non-fully vaccinated player who fails to provide his services for a game in Canada is subject to reduction of compensation, a fine, suspension or other appropriate action, according to the league memo.

A person with a medical contraindication to receiving the vaccine can enter Canada but is required to quarantine in the country for 14 days.

There are other vaccination restrictions of which players must be aware. Any non-fully vaccinated player with a temporary visa who leaves the United States and does not have a medical reason for receiving the vaccine, will not be allowed re-enter the U.S., which would apply to players who leave the country during the All-Star break. Also, some players, regardless of vaccination status, may need to provide a negative coronavirus test before returning to the U.S. from another country, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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