Ontario asks federal government to open border for Toronto Blue Jays

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TORONTO — Ontario's sports minister has asked the federal government to allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play in Canada.

Lisa MacLeod says in a letter sent to her federal counterpart, Steven Guilbeault, that the Ontario government supports the Blue Jays playing at Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto.

MacLeod notes that in Step 3 of Ontario's recovery plan, the Jays would be able to play with limited spectators at Rogers Centre.

Although the domed Rogers Centre has a retractable roof, it qualifies as an outdoor venue under the provincial regulations.

Federal co-operation is necessary to let the Blue Jays and their opponents to cross the border with the United States as part of Major League Baseball's schedule.

Canada's deputy chief public health officer said Thursday that the Blue Jays' return to Canadian soil is "trending in a very good direction," but did not give a firm date for a decision.

Dr. Howard Njoo said there had been "a lot of good back-and-forth" between the franchise and the government over the team's application for a so-called "National Interest Exemption" to Canada's COVID-19 travel restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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