Toronto Blue Jays get government approval to return to Canada, starting July 30

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TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have received federal government approval to return to Canada.

The team says in a statement that it will begin playing its home games at Rogers Centre starting July 30 after receiving a National Interest Exemption from the federal government, which would allow players to cross the border without being subject to Canada's COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Toronto is scheduled to start a three-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals on July 30. The Jays haven't played at Rogers Centre since Sept. 29, 2019, an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay.

The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo, N.Y., and started this season in Dunedin, Fla., before returning to Buffalo.

The Canadian government hadn't allowed the team to play at the 49,000-seat Rogers Centre because of the risk of spreading COVID-19, citing frequent travel required in the U.S. during a baseball season.

Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement that the decision to grant the exemption was made in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada and local and provincial officials.

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

The Canadian Press

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