Blue Jays Receive Exemption, Will Resume Games in Toronto July 30

Adam WellsJuly 16, 2021

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 27: Rogers Centre, home to the MLB Toronto Blue Jays, may be looking at redevelopment. COVID-19. CORONAPD  Toronto Star/Rick Madonik        (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

For the first time since Sept. 29, 2019, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to play baseball games in their home stadium. 

The Blue Jays announced on Friday their return to the Rogers Centre will begin on July 30 against the Kansas City Royals. 

Toronto Blue Jays @BlueJays

No place like home. <br>7.30.21 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WeAreBlueJays?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WeAreBlueJays</a> <a href="https://t.co/DI90MaHaRO">pic.twitter.com/DI90MaHaRO</a>

Per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays received a national interest exemption from the Canadian government to play in Toronto. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's government rejected a proposal from Major League Baseball prior to the start of the 2020 season that would have allowed the Blue Jays to play games at their normal home. 

Instead, the Blue Jays organization played the entire 60-game campaign at their Triple-A affiliate's ballpark in Buffalo, New York. 

Prior to the start of spring training, the Blue Jays announced plans to start the regular season in Dunedin, Florida, "with the hopes of a return to play at Rogers Centre as soon as possible."

After spending the first month in Florida, the Blue Jays moved back to Buffalo on June 1 while they continued to wait for clearance from the Canadian government. 

Canada did loosen travel restrictions for citizens last month, with everyone who is fully-vaccinated no longer required to follow a mandatory 14-day quarantine period 

The rule does not apply to foreign travelers entering the country, though the special exemption suggests that MLB teams won't be included in that policy. 

Canada previously allowed fans to attend NHL games starting with Game 6 of the opening-round playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Approximately 2,500 fans were permitted to the Bell Center. 

The Canadiens attempts' to allow 50 percent capacity (10,500 fans) for the Stanley Cup Final were rejected by Quebec public health officials.

It's unclear how many fans will be allowed to attend games at the Rogers Center. The Blue Jays are scheduled to play 10 consecutive home games from July 30-Aug. 8, including a three-game set against the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox. 

Toronto's 45-42 record ranks fourth in the AL East, but its only 4.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second wild card spot.