Penguins players who left the United States after the NHL suspended operations March 12 are among the professional athletes who have been exempted from the ban on foreigners entering the country that was imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In today’s environment, Americans need their sports," said Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, who signed the order authorizing the exemptions. "It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work."
In addition to NHL players, athletes who will be allowed back into the country include those from Major League Baseball, the NBA, the WNBA, the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, and Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women's Tennis Association.
Jim Rutherford said recently that he was aware some Penguins players had returned to their homes in other countries after the league suspended operations, although he did not know exactly how many. He added that he had stressed to all who were considering leaving the U.S. that they could experience difficulty getting back in.
The exemption also covers essential staff of the teams and leagues, as well as spouses and dependents.