US to Exempt Foreign Athletes From Coronavirus-Related Entry Bans

The United States will exempt some foreign athletes who compete in professional sporting events in the United States from entry bans imposed because of the novel coronavirus epidemic, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said on Friday.

“In today’s environment, Americans need their sports. It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work,” Wolf said in a statement issued by the department announcing he had signed an order for the exemption.

President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing to reopen the U.S. economy after drastic measures to combat the pandemic this year put tens of millions of people out of work.

Major U.S. professional sports were shut down as part of the effort to tackle COVID-19, the respiratory disease cause by the coronavirus which has killed more than 94,000 people and infected 1.57 million in the United States.

In its response to the epidemic, the Trump administration has also imposed bans on entry of travelers from China, where the epidemic started, as well as Iran and much of Europe.

Besides the athletes, the exemption applies to the sporting leagues’ essential staff, spouses and dependents, the statement said.

The sports covered by the exemption include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the Women’s Tennis Association.

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.)

Published in News


  1. Contrast this to the CFL, in which half the players are Americans, who will be quarantined for 14 days before being allowed to play ( IF there is a shortened season)

    1. Am I the only one who finds Trumpers reversal on sports figures perplexing. What’s next? They want Hollywood, Musicians and Broadway back performing?

  2. Being that we still have increases in # of cases reported in several states, and are closing in on 100,000 COVID deaths, WHAT athlete in their right mind would like to come here and bring their families and support staff?