Homeland Security will exempt foreign professional athletes from President Trump’s strict coronavirus travel ban, acting Secretary Chad Wolf announced late Friday, saying the nation needs its sports competitions back up and running.
Mr. Wolf’s order says it’s in the “national interest” to let in foreigners who compete in the top pro leagues for baseball, hockey, and both men’s and women’s golf, basketball and tennis.
“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,” Mr. Wolf said.
The administration has issued policies barring entry for many foreigners amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Travel across the land borders with Canada and Mexico is severely constrained, and visitors are barred from a number of countries where COVID-19 cases are prevalent.
Major League Baseball is currently negotiating with players over how to start its season, which is already two months delayed.
Men’s and women’s tennis leagues, though, have canceled events through the end of July.
Some major foreign soccer leagues have restarted, playing in empty stadiums.
NASCAR, meanwhile, held its first race last weekend — also without fans.
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