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article imageToronto Blue Jays will not be allowed to play in Canada

By Karen Graham     Jul 18, 2020 in Sports
The Blue Jays have been denied approval by the Canadian government to play in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino made the announcement on Saturday that the federal government had denied the request.
The team had been given clearance by city and provincial governments to play their regular season games at Rogers Centre and was awaiting approval from Canada's federal government. That announcement came in a telephone call today.
The federal government cited its concerns over the public health risks associated with Major League Baseball's plan for a 60-game season, according to CBC Canada.
“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. Of particular concern, the Toronto Blue Jays would be required to play in locations where the risk of virus transmission remains high,” Mendicino said, per the Associated Press.
"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," Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, said in a statement. "As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB's regular season at this time."
Prior to the announcement, "there had been discussions between the Blue Jays and players about the team paying off apartment leases, housing players at the Rogers Centre Marriott and giving hardship pay of $20,000 or more," sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.
It all comes down to MLB receiving an exemption to the requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days. And the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel until at least Aug. 21.
More about Toronto blue jays, coronavirus pandemic, Canada government, public health risks, Major League Baseball
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