Reopening the economy in a safe manner is a critical part of the United States’ response to the COVID19 pandemic. United States professional sports leagues and associations either suspended their seasons or postponed the start of their seasons in response to the spread of COVID-19, but now certain professional sporting groups organizing the United States’ largest sporting events, including Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour (PGA Tour), the National Hockey League (NHL), the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), are prepared to resume sporting events with limited attendance and other public safety measures.
Professional sporting events provide powerful first- and second-order benefits to the national economy, even if attendance is curtailed, due to advertising and broadcasting revenue, hospitality and food service requirements, and commercial cleaning needs. In addition, the sporting organizations that manage the professional leagues are situated to do so in a controlled manner, as they act as a single point of contact to manage player movement and the scheduling of events, and can take other measures to ensure player, staff, and fan safety is appropriately addressed. Professional live sporting events also provide intangible benefits to the national interest, including civic pride and national unity.
Based on the benefit live sporting events provide to the national economy, and the need for these sporting events to have full access to their athletes, support staff, and team and league leadership, I hereby determine that it is in the national interest to except from Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, and 9996, aliens who compete in professional sporting events organized by certain professional sporting groups, including their professional staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents.
I will work with the professional sporting groups, including MLB, the NBA, the PGA Tour, the NHL, the ATP and the WTA, to identify the specific athletes, essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents covered by this exemption. This exemption does not exempt those identified individuals from inspection by Customs and Border Protection or any other agency requirements, to include flight funneling enhanced medical screening if applicable as outlined in previously issued Federal Register Notices, when applying for entry into the United States. I may add or remove athletes, essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents from the list to which this exemption applies based on my assessment of whether an exemption for such individuals is in the national interest, including the plans of the relevant professional sporting groups to support sporting events in the United States that do not cause an unnecessary risk to the public health.