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COVID-19 is no longer considered a national emergency in the United States. President Joe Biden literally signed a law declaring that the emergency is over on April 10, but that doesn’t mean all professional athletes, such as Linn Grant, can compete in the U.S.
While the national emergency tag has been removed from the pandemic in the United States, the public health emergency is still intact and carries an expiration date of May 11. The public health emergency was set to expire earlier this year, but just days before that date arrived, the Biden administration extended it.
Part of the public health emergency states that unvaccinated foreign air travelers can not enter the country. The ridiculous restriction has kept Novak Djokovic from playing tennis in the United States, and now Linn Grant will have to miss the first major championship in women’s golf this week over her vaccination status.
The 23-year-old Swede, who is ranked No. 22 in the world, has not been vaccinated against the virus therefore will have to miss out on the Chevron Championship in Texas.
Being barred from entering the country is nothing new for Grant. The former standout at Arizona State hasn’t played in the States since the NCAA Championship in May 2021. Grant turned professional in August of that year and earned her LPGA Tour card in December 2021.
Grant was able to tee it up in six LPGA Tour events in 2022 and picked up four Top 10 finishes along the way, in tournaments held outside of the United States. She qualified for the Tour Championship but was unable to compete given that the tournament was being played in Naples, Florida.
It’s unclear if Grant asked for “special permission” to enter the country like Djokovic did earlier in the year, but given that he was denied entry, her seeking permission would have sadly been a giant waste of time.
Over 2.7 million undocumented immigrants illegally entered the country at the southern border in 2022, but we can’t have the best athletes in the world compete in the United States despite the pandemic being long over.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris