TORONTO – The Blue Jays will find out Saturday whether the Canadian government allows them to play regular-season games in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press Saturday the federal government will make the announcement later Saturday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak ahead of the announcement.
The team had been given clearance by city and provincial governments to play regular-season games at Rogers Centre and awaited approval from Canada’s federal government.
MLB needs an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days. The U.S.-Canada border also remains closed to nonessential travel until at least Aug. 21.
Such a request is asking a lot because allowing games in Toronto means frequent back-and-forth travel to the U.S., where COVID-19 cases are surging. Canada has flattened the epidemic curve.
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The NHL has received an exemption for its restart to the season, but that was a far simpler case because the games are restricted to two hubs — Edmonton and Toronto.
The Blue Jays are scheduled to start the season July 24 at Tampa Bay and play their home opener five days later against Washington.
The Blue Jays received an exemption for training camp, during which the players agreed to isolate in the hotel attached to Rogers Centre and create a quarantine environment. Players are not allowed to leave the stadium or hotel and violators face fines of up to $750,000 Canadian ($551,000 U.S.) and up to six months in jail.
© 2020 The Canadian Press