Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer stated that the Toronto Blue Jays’ return to Canada is “developing in a very good direction”.

Dr. Howard Njoo said that the Blue Jays organization and the government had had “a lot of good back and forth” between the team’s application for the so-called National Interest Exemption (NIE) for Canadian COVID-19 travel restrictions.

But at a virtual press conference on Thursday, Njoo stated that he could not provide a date for the announcement.

“We are reviewing, I want to talk about the final details. But at this point, I want to say that there are no obstructors or anything that we really can’t continue to discuss and move forward,” Njoo said.

“I can’t tell you when a possible decision will be made for… the national interest exemption, but I want to say that from a public health point of view, they have been having a lot of discussions. Excellent.”

A government official familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press that the Jace team will not know before this weekend whether they will soon obtain permission from Ottawa to play at the Rogers Center.

A spokesperson for the team said the club will continue to cooperate with the federal government, starting from July 30th from their temporary residence in Buffalo, New York to move home to play games.

The last time Jace played at Rogers Center was in September 2019

The Blue Jays’ last game at Rogers Center was on September 29, 2019, beating Tampa Bay 8-3. They did not work in a 49,000-seat facility with any capacity in one year.

Although the Canadian government allowed the Blue Jays to hold a summer training camp in Toronto before the shortened 2020 season in July last year, the request to play the regular season north of the border was denied.

This allowed the Blue Jays to scramble to find a solution a few days before the season opener. Toronto spent more than two weeks on the road, and then moved to Buffalo, their hometown of the AAA league.

This season, the Blue Jays started their game at the spring training ground in Dunedin, Florida, and then returned to Salen Stadium in Buffalo on June 1.

The Blue Jays return in the All-Star Game on Friday, when they will start a three-game series with the Texas Rangers in Buffalo.

The Jays team will visit Kansas City on July 30 to open three home games. The venue is listed as “to be determined” on the Major League Baseball website.

Ottawa granted travel exemptions for the final two rounds of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and recently approved a plan to allow CFL players and staff to return to Canada without undergoing a full 14-day quarantine.

Major League Soccer teams Toronto FC and CF Montreal plan to host a match against American opponents this weekend. Although MLS has not yet been granted a quarantine exemption, a statement issued by the office of Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino on Wednesday stated that athletes who have been vaccinated and obtained work permits do not need to complete the 14-day quarantine to enter the country.


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