(Toronto) After nearly 700 days of exile in the US, the Toronto Blue Jays will finally be able to return to the fold on July 30.
The Toronto team announced Friday night that they have obtained permission from the federal government to return to play their home games at Rogers Center once their series begins against the Kansas City Royals on July 30.
In a statement, the team said it had obtained an exemption from the federal government on the national interest.
This exemption will allow players and employees who have not been adequately vaccinated to continue to enter Canada to play games.
Since the beginning of July, fully vaccinated professional athletes with a valid work permit will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. But because not all players had received their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Major League Baseball had to obtain a waiver, which was done on Friday.
Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement that the move came after “careful consideration” of the protocol proposed by Major League Baseball.
All levels of public health, as well as Public Health Canada, were consulted before this authorization was reached.
The plan includes important measures to ensure the safety of players, staff and the public. “It begins with tests before and after everyone arrives, and additional tests four times a week for unvaccinated people,” Minister Mendicino wrote.
It also includes significant restrictions on unvaccinated people, who will have to undergo a modified quarantine, will not be allowed to go anywhere other than a hotel and stadium and will not interact with the general public. ”
A Compliance Officer will also be assigned to each team. This person will be responsible for ensuring that the imposed measures are respected.
The minister also indicated that people who do not comply with the instructions may receive fines under the quarantine law.
On the road since 2019
The Blue Jays last game in Toronto dates back to September 29, 2019, when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3.
The team played their home games for the 2020 season in Buffalo before entering the 2021 season in Dunedin, Florida.
The team then returned to Buffalo in June.
In their press release, the Blue Jays thanked Canadians for their “unprecedented” efforts during the pandemic.
“Without you, baseball won’t come home this summer,” said the team, who also cared to thank their temporary hosts in the United States.
The organization would also like to emphasize the efforts and dedication of its players and staff during this period which will mark the history of this team, as well as their perseverance during this challenging and uncertain chapter. ”
The Blue Jays’ first series in Toronto, which will pit them against the Royal Family, is July 30-31, and also July 1he is August at the Rogers Center.
Toronto will play 11 consecutive games in Canada starting July 30 against the Royals, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels.
In total, the team will be able to play 36 home games by the end of the season, prior to the playoffs.
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