6:55pm: Ontario Premier Doug Ford is fully confident the Blue Jays will receive the go-ahead to play in Toronto, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes. In the event that doesn’t happen, though, the team has identified Buffalo (home of its Triple-A club) as its Plan B, according to Davidi. Dunedin, Fla., also remains a possibility.
3:27pm: The Canadian federal government has not yet given the Blue Jays clearance to play in Toronto, Mitchell tweets. The city of Toronto and the province of Ontario have, on the other hand, but the Blue Jays will also need approval at the federal level, per Mitchell, who adds that a decision should come within a few days.
3:02pm: The Blue Jays have received authorization from the relevant authorities to host regular season 2020 contests at the Rogers Centre, Ontario’s Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Minister Lisa MacLeod revealed on TSN 1200 (Twitter link).
The organization had previously received clearance only to host Summer Camp activities in Toronto. That’s a much more limited undertaking, as it involved bringing players and personnel into the ballpark complex (which includes a hotel) only once, after completion of coronavirus testing occurred in the United States.
Holding home games in Toronto, while traveling elsewhere for away contests, will present quite a different logistical challenge when it comes to limiting potential COVID-19 transmission. There is presently a mutual ban on non-essential travel between the neighboring nations. Canadian authorities are no doubt concerned with the skyrocketing case numbers coming out of many U.S. cities (including some that host MLB teams).
It’s obviously good news for the Jays that they’ll get to have a relatively normal experience during the season. That’s not to say that there’s much hope of paying fans. But setting up a whole separate operation in some other place might’ve been a costly and challenging venture.