The Blue Jays Are Finally Allowed To Leave Florida & Return To Toronto
Toronto's baseballers are officially coming back to the 6ix. The Toronto Blue Jays training camp will be held at the team's home stadium of the Rogers Centre, the franchise confirmed on Thursday, July 2. The Jays had previously trained in Florida until positive COVID-19 tests shut down their operations.
The Jays announced the news on Thursday in an exuberant video tweet.
Per Sportsnet's Shi Davidi, the team has been given an exemption by the federal government to return from Dunedin, Fla., where its previous spring training camp had been held before the shutdown.
Players and staff have been stuck in the Sunshine State for the past few weeks amid spiking cases.
On Wednesday, Florida's governor insisted the state would not go back on its reopening plan despite the surges in new cases, according to CBSNews.
That was naturally a huge concern for the Jays, not to mention Toronto's other sports teams like the NBA champion Raptors.
According to TSN, the Jays were still in Dunedin as of Thursday morning.
Davidi reports the exemption letter given to the Jays allows them to pivot on the Quarantine Act, which states that normally, anyone arriving in Canada from elsewhere must isolate for 14 days.
An official Jays release explains that players and staff are undergoing screening in Dunedin right now, and will board private flights to Toronto this weekend.
Prior to the Jays' announcement, Toronto Mayor John Tory had said earlier on Thursday that he was "very optimistic" the team would return to Toronto, noting that many of the "obstacles" have been removed.
Jays, like the Raps, are the only team in their sport's major league who play north of the Canada-U.S. border, which is theoretically closed to all non-essential travel until mid-July.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford thinks that's not enough, though. Last week, he called for the border to remain shut beyond that touted July 21 date, and pointed to Florida's crisis as an indicator of how badly wrong things can go.
MLB teams are set to begin their training camps tomorrow, ahead of a truncated 60-game regular season which will begin on July 23 or 24, per CBC.
The Jays release adds that no decision has yet been made on where the team will play its home games during the shortened season, but that Rogers Centre remains its first choice.