The Canadian federal government has approved modified travel quarantines for NHL teams competing in the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, CBC reports.
A "national interest" exemption was issued by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino that would allow teams to cross the US-Canada border, which is currently closed to non-essential travel, for the iconic hockey games.
According to the CBC, NHL players and team personnel will be using private planes to travel, and those traveling will be required to take pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 testing, in addition to daily tests.
Players will be restricted to a "modified quarantine bubble" which includes the hotel they stay at and the arena. Interactions with the public will be severely limited or forbidden in both locations, with no use of shared facilities with the public.
"In addition to NHL's COVID Protocol, NHL players and personnel will have to abide by all local public health rules," Mendicino said in a statement. "We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation on both sides of the border. We will not hesitate to take further public health measures where necessary."
According to the CBC, "The exemption allows the winner of the NHL's all-Canadian division and its U.S. opponent to cross the border without quarantine during the Stanley Cup semifinals and finals."
The winner of the North Division final will face off against US division winners in the semifinals. The two teams winning the semifinals will compete for the Stanley Cup.
The exemption marks the first time cross-border travel would occur in the NHL during the pandemic. The NHL concluded its season last year with US teams traveling to Toronto and Edmonton.
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