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Canadian government approves modified quarantine for CFL players

The federal government has approved a plan that will allow CFL players and staff to return to Canada without undergoing a full 14-day quarantine.

The federal government has approved a plan that will allow CFL players and staff to return to Canada without undergoing a full 14-day quarantine. 

Minister of Immigration Marco Mendicino said in a statement Wednesday that the government approved the plan after reviewing it with local and provincial health officials. 

Players and staff must spend seven days in isolation before coming to Canada, then isolate for another seven days at a designated hotel once they arrive. 

They'll also have to take multiple PCR tests before coming into the country and while in quarantine at the hotel, and if all the tests come back negative, players will move on to another seven-day period where they can train with teammates but cannot have contact with the public. 

Each team will have a designated compliance officer and anyone who breaks the rules will be removed from training camp, have their exemption revoked and be required to complete the standard 14-day quarantine. The federal government says failure to follow health and safety protocols laid out in the CFL's plan could also result in fines, contract termination and the loss of draft picks. 

The CFL cancelled its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but training camps for the 2021 campaign are set to open on July 10 with the season kicking off on Aug. 5. 

Earlier this month, the federal government gave a travel exemption for Olympic hopefuls that allows athletes and staff to train for the Tokyo Games on home soil without undergoing a full 14-day quarantine upon returning to Canada. 

Instead, the Olympians joined bubbles in Victoria, Calgary, Toronto or Montreal where they're restricted to accommodations and training facilities, and can't interact with the public. Athletes and staff in the bubbles are tested at "regular intervals" about every second day. 

The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on July 23. 

Ottawa also gave the NHL a travel exemption for the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Players and staff are tested pre- and post-departure when crossing the border, and are confined to their hotels and the arena on the road, but those with Canadian teams can stay at home while playing in Canada.

The Montreal Canadiens -- the last Canadian team in the playoff race -- are set to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the finals on Wednesday. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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