The Government of Canada has turned down the Blue Jays’ plan, which means they will not be able to play in Toronto, at least in the short term, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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This is what the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino, said in a statement released on Saturday.
“Based on public health advice, we have concluded that the cross-border travel required to play the regular season of major baseball would not adequately protect the health and safety of Canadians,” the missive reads. As a result, Canada will not be issuing an exemption for the major baseball regular season at this time. “
Minister Mendicino, however, said his government could change its shoulder rifle if the Jays take part in the playoffs and the risk of transmitting the virus is then reduced.
The decision of the Canadian elected officials is mainly based on the fact that the team of the Queen City will have to travel in the south of the United States to dispute matches and then return to the country. This decision goes against what the authorities of the municipality and the provincial government had ruled, they who had rather given their agreement to the Toronto formation.
The Jays understand
Moments after the federal decision was made, the Blue Jays also issued a press release thanking the various authorities for taking the time to study the issue.
“From the start of discussions with the league and government officials, the safety of our community, our supporters and the team remained the priority of everyone involved,” the team also wrote. The club fully respects the federal government’s decision. Although our team will not be playing matches at the Rogers Center this summer, our players will be on the field for the 2020 season with the same pride and passion to represent our nation. We are looking forward to playing again in front of our fans on Canadian soil. ”
The Blue Jays are set to kick off their 2020 campaign on July 24 against the Rays in Tampa Bay, Florida.
“The teams, including the Blue Jays, will have to cross the border several times and that is a problem,” said the Director of Public Health of Canada, Dr Howard Njoo, in his Friday press briefing.
According to the Sportsnet network, the Blue Jays would turn to Buffalo for its games. The club has facilities there where one of its minor league teams, the Bisons, plays at AAA level.
It seems that members of the Canadian team are already on site to prepare for the team’s arrival.
In their statement, the Jays did not confirm where their destination would be, specifying that they are currently evaluating “the best place to play their 2020 regular season” and that they “will share their decision as soon as they can”.