TORONTO – Major League Baseball has submitted a plan to the Canadian government to play in Toronto this year and health authorities are examining it.
Anna Maddison, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Public Health Agency, said Wednesday that the restart plan is being reviewed.
“The resumption of activities in Canada must be carried out in compliance with Canada’s plan to mitigate the import and spread of COVID-19,” Maddison told The Associated Press.
“The Canadian Public Health Agency has received, and is currently evaluating, a Major League Baseball restart plan,” he said.
Maddison also said that Major League Baseball requires the formal support of Ontario health authorities.
Anyone entering Canada for non-essential reasons must remain in quarantine for 14 days, and the US border. USA And Canada remains closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21.
On Tuesday, the Canadian government said it was open to MLB playing in Toronto this summer, but the league had not submitted the required plan to health authorities. A senior federal government official said that if MLB presented an acceptable restart plan to the government, a waiver letter similar to the one provided to the National Hockey League could be provided. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
MLB announced Tuesday night that it will have a regular 60-game season that begins July 23 or 24 in stadiums with no fans.
There has been talk that the Blue Jays could play at their training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but the facility was closed after a player showed possible symptoms of COVID-19.
A person familiar with the situation told AP that several Blue Jays players and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus. The person confirmed the test results to the AP on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because there was no official announcement, but did not specify a number.
The virus canceled many clubs’ plans to resume training at their Florida facilities due to the increase in cases in the state. Most teams intend to train at their regular season stadiums.
Dr. Andrew Morris, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and medical director of the Antimicrobial Management Program at the Sinai-University Health Network, said he doesn’t see how the government can approve the MLB game in Canada.
“The current situation in the United States right now is a disaster. It is a total disaster and it is almost a disaster in the south and west. Baseball players are included in that disaster,” Morris said. “There’s no way that having people coming and going from the US is somehow a good idea because you’re going to bring people with COVID to the country.”
Morris said the Canadian government should say no.
“It is not a good idea,” Morris said. “I can’t see that they allow it. It is based on public health principles. When I last reviewed it, professional sports are not in the essential services category. And I am a huge sports fan. It is difficult to sell.”
Federal and local health authorities in Canada have approved a plan for the NHL to play in Toronto, Edmonton, Alberta or Vancouver, British Columbia, but the plan does not involve round-trip travel between the United States and Canada. That decision last week comes as the NHL enters the advanced stages of selecting its core cities, probably two, from a list of seven in the US. USA And three in Canada.