Ontario health officer says MLB has not submitted a plan
TORONTO -- Major League Baseball has not submitted the required plan to Canadian authorities that is needed for the Blue Jays to play in Toronto, Canadian officials said Tuesday.
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, said he has read a MLB proposal but it 'údoesn't mention anything about travel to Canada at this time."
"If there is some interest in that we would have to get a proposal from them, to see how they would undertake the uniqueness of bringing the team and other teams up here to play and how that would work,'Ě Williams said.
Anyone entering Canada for non-essential reasons must quarantine for 14 days, and the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21.
A senior federal government official said if MLB were to submit an acceptable restart plan to the government, an exemption letter similar to the letter provided to the National Hockey League could be provided. But the official said at this time, the government has not received a proposal from MLB. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
There has been talk the Blue Jays could play games at their training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but the facility was shuttered after one player showed symptoms of possible coronavirus, and the virus upended plans of many clubs to resume training at their Florida facilities due to a rise in cases in the state. Most teams intend to work out in their regular-season ballparks, but where Toronto is going to play remains uncertain.
'úThe regular-season locale is still a work in progress. That's all we can say at this time," Blue Jays spokesman Richard Griffin said.
Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro said he will not provide an update until the schedule is firm and MLB is moving forward. Shapiro has been lobbying the federal government and was added to the federal lobbyist registry last week.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, said the federal government has talked to MLB, but any plan to play in Toronto is predicated on a mitigation plan that ensures the safety of Canadians.
'úThe players have to come together and pose no risk to themselves or the surrounding population,'Ě Tam said. 'úEverything has to be reviewed. There is strict testing and screening and quarantine requirements. Routine testing is part of the mitigation plan. All that has to be evaluated in real time as well and the local health authorizes have to be comfortable."
Federal and local health authorities in Canada have approved a plan for the NHL to play in either Toronto, Edmonton, Alberta, or Vancouver, British Columbia, but the plan does not involve travel back and forth between the U.S. and Canada. That decision last week comes as the NHL enters the advanced stages of selecting its hub cities - most likely two - from a list of seven in the U.S. and three in Canada.
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