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A long-awaited return to Canada is in store for the Toronto Blue Jays after the team was granted National Interest Exemption to return to Rogers Centre in Downtown Toronto, starting July 30.
The team had previously played their “home” games in Dunedin, Florida and Sahlen Field in Buffalo due to ongoing travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada related to COVID-19.
As noted by the MLB Trade Rumors report, “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.”
The Blue Jays released an official statement regarding the travel update announced on Friday. “After nearly two years away, the Toronto Blue Jays are finally coming home to Canada beginning July 30.”
The announcement from Marco Mendicino — Canadian minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship — stated that protocols would be put into action for all visiting teams once the Blue Jays return to Toronto. The protocols will demand vaccinated players to be tested for COVID-19 before and after games, while unvaccinated teammates and personnel will be subject to additional testing.
“Following a careful review by public health officials at every level of government, a National Interest Exemption has been approved that will permit the Toronto Blue Jays to return to Toronto and play home games at the Rogers Centre,” said Mendicino, on behalf of the Canadian government.