(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

Ontario says Blue Jays cleared to play at home, but final decision lies with feds

Feds still reviewing the Blue Jays’ and Major League Baseball’s plan for regular season games

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he’s looking forward to the Toronto Blue Jays playing at Rogers Centre this season after a member of his government said the Major League Baseball team has been given the green light to play games at home.

The federal government, however, hasn’t yet approved the plan.

Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod told Ottawa’s TSN Radio 1200 on Thursday that the Blue Jays have clearance to play in Toronto and travel to the United States for road games during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said teams visiting Toronto will stay inside a quarantine bubble, which would include Rogers Centre and a hotel. MacLeod said the agreement will be rescinded if the protocols put in place are broken.

Because the plan would involve multiple crossings of the Canada-U.S. border both by the Blue Jays and by visiting teams, the final say on whether the plan can go ahead rests with the federal government. Canada currently requires individuals to quarantine for 14 days after crossing the international border.

While MacLeod said the Blue Jays “have been cleared by the federal government to play in both countries,” the federal government has yet to confirm that is the case.

Public Health Agency of Canada spokeswoman Natalie Mohamed said the immigration minister had issued a national interest exemption to the League’s players and staff members specific to pre-season training phases 1 and 2 earlier this month.

READ MORE: NHL no longer considering Vancouver as hub city

The Canadian government is still reviewing the Blue Jays’ and Major League Baseball’s plan for regular season games, she said in a statement.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he urged the federal and provincial governments to approve MLB’s plan.

“This is one of the most extensive protocols I’ve ever seen to keep people safe in the city of Toronto,” Tory said. “They are going to actually sacrifice a lot by having themselves confined, largely when they are not out of town, to the hotel premises.”

The Blue Jays declined comment when reached by The Canadian Press. The federal government did not immediately respond for comment.

Canada’s deputy public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo had expressed concerns about the plan Tuesday, saying Canada and the United States are in very different places with regards to COVID-19.

Njoo said while Canada typically records around 300 new COVID-19 cases daily, the United States records over 60,000 cases per day.

Ford was asked why the Ontario government approved the plan.

“We got approval from the (Toronto) chief medical officer, and we discussed it with Mayor (John) Tory as well. We discussed it with the chief medical officer of Canada along with the deputy prime minister. And on top of it we talked to (Ontario chief medical officer) Dr. (David) Williams and our medical team. And yes I look forward to seeing them play even if it’s in an empty stadium.

“Folks if you’d seen the protocol, I think Major League Baseball’s was 150 pages,” he added. ”They’re probably even stricter than our chief medical officers.”

Tory doesn’t want the Blue Jays to be the only MLB team not to play in its home stadium.

“I have faith,” Tory said. “I’m very confident that this stereotype that we’re going to see all these people running around partying will not take place.”

The Blue Jays’ 60-game season starts July 24 at Tampa Bay, with the home opener set for July 29 against the Washington Nationals.

The Blue Jays currently are holding training camp at Rogers Centre after getting approval from the federal government.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hilary Vandergugten is the clinical care coordinator for the new emergency room in Langley. (Special to The Star)
Langley ER nurses welcome arrival of new care space

Bright natural lights, new equipment delight hospital’s emergency room staff

A mason bee metropolis is unfolding in David Clements backyard. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
GREEN BEAT: ‘If you build it, they will come’

Building tube-filled homes for mason bees will attract these pollinators to the backyard

Diana Caldwell, 72, who lives in Chatsworth near Owen Sound, Ont. has been writing and exchanging poetry with her daughter, an English professor in Langley, throughout the pandemic year. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
TWU woman writes more than 100 pandemic poems with mom during lockdown

Ontario mom and BC daughter trade original poems across the country, share daily grief, and joys

Vanguard Secondary School is set to receive $3.8 million in seismic upgrades. The upgrades are scheduled to be complete by March 2023. (Joanne Abshire/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley school to receive $3.8 million seismic upgrade

Project scheduled to be completed March 2023

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner: coach

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read