Jul 18, 2020 - Sports

Canada bars Blue Jays from playing in Toronto

Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

Rogers Centre, the Blue Jay's home field, in Toronto, Ontario. Photo: Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Canadian government denied the Blue Jays' request to play at their home field in Toronto, Ontario, this season over fears surrounding the surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S., ESPN reports, citing Canada's Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

Why it matters: The team is working to finalize plans for an alternative field for its regular-season home games before its July 29 home opener against the Washington Nationals.

What they're saying: "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," Mendicino said, according to ESPN.

  • Mendicino said the federal government is "open to considering future restart plans for the postseason should the risk of virus transmission diminish."
  • "In Canada you've seen us flatten the curve. You've seen that cases have decreased significantly and that is largely attributable to the sacrifices Canadians have made. We can ill afford a step back."

Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a statement on Saturday: "The safety of the broader community—our fans—and the team remained the priority of everyone involved, and with that, the club completely respects the federal government's decision," according to Major League Baseball.

What's next: The Blue Jays are scheduled to begin their season July 24 at Tampa Bay.

Go deeper