TORONTO. — The Toronto Blue Jays will have to find a new home this season after the Canadian federal government on Saturday rejected a plan by the Major League Baseball team to use the Rogers Centre over fears of spreading the novel coronavirus.
The Blue Jays have been under strict quarantine while holding a training camp at their home stadium ahead of the restart of the MLB season on July 23.
The team had been hoping to secure an exemption from travel quarantine rules that would allow them to play at the Rogers Centre.
Last week the federal government extended the closure of the Canada/US border to non-essential travel until Aug. 21.
Anyone entering Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.
Under such restrictions it would be impossible for the Blue Jays to cross into the US and return home and opposing teams to enter Canada for games without government and public health approval.
“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,” said Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino in a statement.
“As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB’s regular season at this time.”
Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a statement that the team supported the government’s decision. – Reuters