The swallows come back to Capistrano each year. But the Toronto Blue Jays can’t return to their home for baseball this season.
The Canadian government has denied the team approval to play in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced the decision Saturday.
More from Deadline
- Jennifer Lopez And Alex Rodriguez Among The Bidders In NY Mets Sale Auction
- Atlanta Braves Silent On Changing Team Name As Other Sports Teams Mull Options
- Former Dodgers Outfielder Now Homeless, Arrested For Sleeping Behind FedEx
“Unlike preseason training, regular-season games would require repeated cross-border travel of Blue Jays players and staff, as well as opponent teams into and out of Canada,” Mendicino said. “Of particular concern, the Toronto Blue Jays would be required to play in locations where the risk of virus transmission remains high.
“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. As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB’s regular season at this time.”
The federal denial comes after the Jays were given clearance by city and provincial governments to play regular-season games at Rogers Centre. Where the Blue Jays will play has not been determined.
Major League Baseball needed an exemption so that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons did not have to self-isolate for 14 days, as required. The US-Canada border is closed to nonessential travel until at least Aug. 21.
The NHL has received an exemption for its restart to the season, but that league’s games are restricted to two hubs — Edmonton and Toronto.
The Blue Jays were scheduled to start July 24 at Tampa Bay. Their home opener would have come five days later against Washington.
The Blue Jays received an exemption for summer training, but the players agreed to isolate in the hotel attached to Rogers Centre and create a quarantine environment. Players were not allowed to leave the stadium or hotel and violators face fines of up to $750,000 Canadian ($551,000 U.S.) and up to six months in jail.
The Washington Nationals faced a similar ban on playing at its home field in DC, but managed to get an exemption that will allow them to return.
Best of Deadline
- U.S. Coronavirus Update: New Cases Break Record 70,000 For The First Time; Infections Up 40% Since Early July
- Coronavirus: Movies That Have Halted Or Delayed Production Amid Outbreak
- Hong Kong Filmart Postponed Due To Coronavirus Fears; Event Moves Two Weeks Before Toronto