COVID-19 spike in U.S. complicates plans for Blue Jays to host U.S. teams in Toronto
The Toronto Blue Jays played a MLB intrasquad baseball game in Toronto on Friday, July 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, July 14, 2020 1:21PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canada's deputy public health officer says the federal government would be having “a different conversation” with the Toronto Blue Jays about playing regular-season games at Rogers Centre if the United States and Canada were at similar stages in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Howard Njoo said Tuesday that discussions are ongoing between the Canadian government and the Major League Baseball team, but he said the issue of having American-based teams continually crossing the U.S.-Canada border makes talks about hosting regular-season games “a totally different ball game” than the approved plan to allow the Jays to hold training camp at their home facility.
Njoo said the federal, Ontario and Toronto governments were comfortable with the measures the Blue Jays put in place to safely train as a team at Rogers Centre.
However, on the issue of crossing the border, he said Canada is in a different place than the U.S. with regards to COVID-19 “from a pure epidemiological point of view.”
Njoo said while Canada typically records around 300 new COVID-19 cases daily, the United States records over 60,000 cases per day.
The Jays have stated their preference is to play at Rogers Centre and their alternatives are either TD Ballpark in Dunedin Fla., in the middle of a coronavirus hot spot, or Sahlen Field in Buffalo, which is not considered up to major-league standards.
The Blue Jays' season opener is July 24 at Tampa Bay. The home opener is July 29 against Washington.