Toronto Blue Jays have been banned from playing in Canada during the 2020 MLB season for fear of spreading. The season, which was delayed due to the pandemic, is scheduled to start in the .
“Based on the best public health advice available, we have concluded that the cross-border travel required for the MLB regular season game would not adequately protect the health and safety of Canadians,” said the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada in a statement. “As a result, Canada will not issue a national interest exemption for the MLB regular season at this time.”
The team would have needed an exemption from the rule that requires anyone entering the country to isolate themselves for two weeks. The Blue Jays had previously been granted a pre-season training exemption, requiring them to conduct all team activities at the Rogers Center, where they normally play their games at home and the “adjacent facilities.”
“However, unlike preseason training, regular season games would require repeated cross-border trips by Blue Jays players and staff, as well as opposing teams inside and outside of Canada,” the minister said in his statement. . “Of particular concern, the Toronto Blue Jays would have to play in places where the risk of transmission of the virus remains high.”
The Blue Jays said in a statement that they are “in the process of finalizing the best location for the rest of the 2020 season.”
The city of Toronto had previously approved plans to allow the Blue Jays to play at the Rogers Center, but that was reversed by the Canadian government’s decision on Saturday.
“I fully respect this decision and I thank the Government of Canada for working with the province and the city on this issue,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said Saturday.
If the Blue Jays made it to the postseason, the Canadian government said the decision could be reversed “if the risk of virus transmission decreases.”
The Blue Jays are slated to start the season at Tampa Bay on July 24. His first game is scheduled for July 29 against the Washington Nationals. A number of players haveof the planned 60-game season on health concerns for both themselves and their families.
The Canada-United States border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21.