The Toronto Blue Jays play an MLB intrasquad baseball game in a nearly empty Rogers Centre in Toronto on Thursday, July 9, 2020. The Blue Jays have submitted a proposal to the federal government to return to Rogers Centre this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio

Blue Jays submit proposal to federal government for Rogers Centre return

Blue Jays submit proposal to federal government for Rogers Centre return

Blue Jays submit proposal to federal government for Rogers Centre return

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have submitted a proposal to the federal government to return to Rogers Centre this season.

A spokesperson for the team said Monday that the Blue Jays asked for federal backing to return home after receiving support at the city and provincial levels.

The border between Canada and the United States is closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baseball players crossing the border from the U.S. would be subject to a 14-day quarantine, unless the Jays receive permission from federal public health authorities to exempt or modify that condition.

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

On Monday, the federal government eased restrictions at the border, allowing fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents to skip the quarantine when returning to Canada. While that doesn’t immediately help the Jays, it’s a sign things are progressing in the right direction for the team after 16 months of rigid travel restrictions.

The Jays are currently playing home games in Buffalo, N.Y., after opening the season with Dunedin, Fla., as their home venue.

Toronto also played home games in Buffalo last year after a proposal to have U.S.-based teams avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine was rejected by the federal government.

Team president Mark Shapiro has said it would take three-to-four weeks to move the team from Buffalo to Toronto once the Blue Jays are cleared to return to Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays last played at 49,000-capacity Rogers Centre on Sept. 29, 2019, an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay.

Baseball