- According to Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino, professional athletes who have not yet received one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines will be barred from entering Canada beginning January 15.
Under the current national interest exemption, NBA players who aren’t fully vaccinated can enter the country and play against the Raptors in Toronto. However, the rules for unvaccinated athletes traveling to Canada will change in January.
On the other hand, Mendicino stated that the exemption would be lifted in January due to the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines. As a result, players who have not been vaccinated will be ineligible to play in Toronto games beginning January 15.
Although the change is expected to affect several NBA players, it will not affect many of the league’s most notable unvaccinated players.
For example, Bradley Beal and the Wizards will make their final trip of the season to Toronto on December 5, at which point Beal will still be allowed to play.
On December 20, Jonathan Isaac’s Magic will make their final trip to Toronto. Kyrie Irving’s Nets are scheduled to play in Toronto on March 1, but unless New York City changes its vaccine mandate, there’s no guarantee Irving will be able to play by then. Michael Porter Jr. is also rumored to be unvaccinated, but the Nuggets forward could still be out due to a back injury when the team travels to Toronto on February 12.
The Raptors started during training camp that they were one-second dose away from having a fully vaccinated roster, so the change should impact no Toronto players.