Toronto Blue Jays Facing COVID-19 Travel Issues

Canada’s deputy public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo has said “no” to the idea of Major League Baseball happening in Canada amid this pandemic. He said earlier this week that the Canadian government would be having “a different conversation” about playing at Rogers Centre if the United States and Canada were at similar stages in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday July 14th he said that discussions are ongoing between the Canadian government and the Blue Jays. The issue at hand is having the Toronto-based team and American-based teams continually crossing the U.S.-Canada border. The border closure between the two countries has been extended for another month on Tuesday. 

What Njoo Is Saying

“The issue of the regular season, I think, I was speaking to the potential of travel across the U.S.-Canadian border, not just the Blue Jays leaving town and coming back after a road trip but also for teams coming in, that also is obviously a totally different ball game,” Njoo said. He continued, “but I can appreciate for the Blue Jays, for the players, that’s tough because they’ve had this very tight quarantine and work bubble for spring training here in Canada. But if they were to leave Canada and go on a road trip, it’s hard to look at all the factors involved in terms of what the risk might be for themselves leaving Canada and then coming back.”

Possible Outcomes

Njoo doesn’t have the answers right now, but some possibilities are being floated. Naturally, the Blue Jays’ first choice is to play its home games in Toronto. But if the Canadian authorities don’t allow it, the team is considering using its Triple-A home in Buffalo, New York.

There is also the option to use its spring training base in Dunedin, Florida. Buffalo sounds like the preferred location given its proximity to Toronto and the surges going on in Florida. As the Blue Jays wait for a decision from Canadian authorities, the team is preparing for exhibition games on July 21 and 22 in Boston against the Red Sox. A decision will likely be made prior to this trip.

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