Soon, unvaccinated NBA players will be able to enter Canada to play against the Toronto Raptors next season.
The Canadian federal government is planning to eliminate the COVID-19 vaccine requirement by September 30, according to the Globe & Mail. The mandate prohibited the entry of unvaccinated foreigners into the country.
why does it matter
Unvaccinated NBA players were banned from entering Toronto to play against the Raptors last season. Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle, for example, was barred from entering the country during Toronto’s playoff series against Philadelphia.
The policy change will allow all unvaccinated players to enter the country, meaning Thybulle, Kyrie Irving and other players who are not fully vaccinated will be able to compete at Scotiabank Arena.
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If the mandate is withdrawn on September 30, as reported, unvaccinated players will be able to enter in time for the first preseason game of the year in Toronto on October 2 in Edmonton. The Raptors’ regular season is scheduled to begin on October 19 against the Cavaliers.
The other side
Although Canada is phasing out its vaccination requirement, the United States still requires foreigners to be fully vaccinated to enter the country. All non-U.S. Raptors players, therefore, must be fully vaccinated to travel between Canada and the United States. This was not an issue for the team last year as everyone in the organization was fully vaccinated.
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