The CBC is reporting the federal government has said it’s not OK for the Blue Jays to play ball in Toronto during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the plan to work the government would have had to waive the rule that anyone entering Canada for non-essential reasons would have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Ottawa informed the team of the decision on Saturday, citing concerns over the public health risks associated with Major League Baseball’s plan for a 60-game season.
“Based on the best available public health advice, we have concluded the cross-border travel required for MLB regular season play would not adequately protect Canadians’ health and safety,” Marco Mendicino, minister of immingration, refugees and citizenship, said in a statement. “As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB’s regular season at this time.”
Mendicino said the government is willing to restart plans if the Blue Jays make the playoffs and the risk of the virus spreading has diminished.
The plan called for the Blue Jays and visiting teams to cross the Canada-U.S. border regularly.
For weeks, senior federal officials have privately expressed concerns about the Blue Jays playing games in COVID-19 hot spots before returning to Toronto while also hosting teams from states U.S. where positive cases are growing fast.
The Blue Jays are set to open their season on July 24 at Tampa Bay as Florida continues to set new daily records for COVID-19 cases. The Toronto Star is reporting that the Blue Jays will play their home games in Buffalo.