The Toronto Blue Jays are still holding out hope that they’ll be playing games in Canada by the end of this month.
It’s been nearly two years since the team has been able to do that, as the closed Canada-USA border forced the Blue Jays to play home games out of Dunedin and Buffalo this season.
“The Blue Jays are currently awaiting a decision by the federal government on a proposal that would allow the team to return to Toronto on July 30,” the team said in a media release today. “We remain hopeful to be back home this summer, playing in front of Blue Jays fans at Rogers Centre for the first time in nearly two years and being part of our community’s recovery from the pandemic.”
The Blue Jays shared details of the proposal they sent to the federal government, which includes treating fully vaccinated players, coaches, and staff the same way as the general public after entering the country — following a negative COVID-19 test. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, on the other hand, would need to follow a “modified quarantine.”
Cross-border travel was permitted for the Montreal Canadiens, Vegas Golden Knights, and Tampa Bay Lightning during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but that has been the lone exception made by the government so far. Other teams will be interested to see what the federal government decides in this situation, as it could serve as a precedent for the Toronto Raptors, as well as Canada’s seven NHL teams and three MLS teams.
Here’s a look at the details of the proposal shared by the Blue Jays today:
MLB’s health and safety protocols and high league-wide vaccination rates
- Over the past two seasons, the league’s COVID-19 protocols have been extremely effective and in the rare event that a positive case has occurred, the league has demonstrated the ability to contain the virus, including no instances of on-field transmission.
- More than 200,000 COVID-19 monitoring tests have been conducted since the start of the 2021 season, resulting in a 0.03% positivity rate.
- MLB has extremely high vaccination rates, with more than 85% of players and personnel across the league being fully vaccinated.
- Significant efforts have been made by the league and teams to provide education, access, and incentives to increase vaccination rates.
Additional measures that address Canada’s border restrictions
- Fully vaccinated individuals on the home and visiting teams will follow the same rules to enter Canada as the general public, which is showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test with no quarantine requirement; fully vaccinated individuals will also undergo weekly testing.
- Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals on the home and visiting teams will adhere to a modified quarantine for their first 14 days in Canada. They will be permitted to leave their residence only to participate in baseball activities at Rogers Centre.