The Blue Jays announced they’ve received a national interest exemption from the Canadian government to return in time for their July 30 homestand. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (Twitter link) reported the news shortly before the formal announcement.
The Jays will host the Royals in the Rogers Centre two weeks from now in the first game at their home ballpark in nearly two full calendar years. Border closures resulting from COVID-19 have kept the Jays from returning home in either of the past two seasons. They played the abbreviated 2020 campaign in Buffalo, the home of their Triple-A affiliate. They began this season hosting games at their Spring Training complex in Dunedin before relocating to Buffalo at the beginning of June.
July 30 will mark one of the more momentous dates in recent Jays’ history. After their three-game set against the Royals that weekend, Toronto will host series against the Indians, Red Sox and Angels through mid-August. Their final “homestand” in Buffalo — this weekend against the Rangers and early next week with the Red Sox — commences tonight before a seven-game road trip.
It remains to be seen whether the plan will require some sort of “bubble” format for players on the Jays and visiting clubs who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. It stands to reason more details will become clear upon a formal announcement of approval from the Canadian government.