Reports of shortened quarantine for NHL players ‘a slapshot in the face’: advocates


Advocates are calling on the federal government to reduce their mandatory two-week COVID-19 quarantine for all Canadians in response to reports of incoming NHL players having their quarantines shortened.

Faces of Advocacy, an organization rallying to reunite families at the Canadian border, called on the federal government to reduce their mandatory quarantines for Canadians from 14 to days to seven — the same reduction that’s being planned for NHL players traded across the U.S.-Canada border.

Read more: Air travel to Canada drops a month after feds implement COVID-19 quarantine hotels

“Families are further burdened, stressed, and disproportionately affected while NHL players have their quarantine times reduced,” the organization’s founder Dr. David Poon said in a statement to Global News Thursday.

“This is a slapshot to the face at a time where vulnerable binational Canadian families have suffered so much.”

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The plan to reduce the quarantine for players, first reported by CBC News on Thursday who cited a source in the federal government, comes just ahead of the April 12 trade deadline.

This season, the seven Canadian teams have limited themselves to playing within the country in order to prevent any cross-border issues due to the pandemic.

Current federal rules say anyone flying across the border must undergo COVID-19 testing prior to their flight and upon entrance to the country, after which they must stay at a pre-booked hotel for up to three days while waiting for their test results — all on their own dollar. Another test has to be taken on day 10 of their quarantine.

Read more: Flying back to Canada? Here’s what you can expect at the new COVID-19 quarantine hotels

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The new seven-day mandate would cut that quarantine requirement in half, though NHL players would have to undergo extra testing.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that there is a “set of different groups” that are able to follow modified quarantine measures or may be exempt from quarantine, such as essential workers who cross the border.

“To be clear, it’s not necessarily an exemption from quarantine in general but certain activities may be permitted, such as going to work at a workplace or again in the case of the NHL, it could be going to practices if those appropriate precautions with oversight are in place,” said Hinshaw.

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Poon’s organization has since called for the government to give average Canadian families the same consideration as any incoming NHL players.

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“We are not recklessly asking for an immediate opening of the border — we are asking for guidance, organization, well-defined metrics, and at the very least, the same opportunities afforded to celebrity professional athletes who have far more resources than the average Canadian family,” Poon said.

Health Canada did not immediately respond to Global News’ request for comment on shortened quarantines for NHL players.

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