Like the Blue Jays had to deal with in 2020, the Raptors can’t stage their home games in Toronto to start the next NBA season.
As COVID-19 is still a thing, the US-Canada border is closed for unessential travel and that includes professional sports.
As we know, the Toronto Blue Jays were denied the ability to play their home games at the Rogers Centre for the 2020 season, which forced them to relocate to Buffalo.
Four months later, the Toronto Raptors were attempting to put together a plan to have their own home games at the Scotiabank Arena. Yesterday, it was revealed that the Raptors received the same answer and got the same fate as the Blue Jays in which the federal government denied them the ability to play in Toronto. The Raptors will be relocating to Tampa, but the hope is that it will only be temporary and just for the start of the NBA season.
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The Raptors getting the red light to play their games in Canada is bad news for the Blue Jays hopes of having home games north of the border for the 2021 season, but the team and fans should remain optimistic.
One, baseball season is still months away. The Blue Jays home opener isn’t slated until April 8th as their first two series of the season are on the road in New York and Texas respectively. As the Canadian government made a decision on where they could play in 2020 last minute, this could give the Blue Jays more time to prepare for potentially hosting games in Toronto.
While no one knows the future, cases could potentially go down among residents in Ontario in the next little while. Right now though, cases are only rising, and the Toronto and Peel Region are entering another lockdown starting Monday.
Two, there is a hotel attached right to the Rogers Centre. The Marriot City Centre Hotel is on the outside looking in as can be seen in right centre field. Opposing teams can stay at that hotel, in which there is a path that connects from the hotel right to the ballpark. How it can work is that as soon as opposing teams land in Toronto, they get right off the plane onto a bus and into the hotel. This way, they wouldn’t be exposed to the public, and they likely wouldn’t be allowed to leave the hotel or stadium premises.
It should be noted though that this was a part of the plan the team presented to the government which was denied.
Three, at the beginning of November, the province of Calgary was implementing a way to rapidly test international travellers at their airports. Premier of Ontario Doug Ford stated that if the experiment in Calgary ran well, he would like to implement these rapid tests at airports within his municipality. Results of how this is going on in Calgary are unknown so far, but this development could be a real possibility. If it does indeed get implemented at Ontario airports, this could be a huge step in the right direction for the Jays hopes of playing in Toronto.
Lastly, there have been multiple reports of a coronavirus vaccine, developed by the company Pfizer, being more than 90% effective. While it will have to be tested on humans to fully understand the extent of how effective it is, Pfizer is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
While the vaccine will need approval from federal governments in Canada, the United States and other countries across the globe, it seems to be ready for use as the State of Israel which is one of the largest and most successful technological, innovative and pharmaceutical countries in the entire world, has bought eight million doses of the vaccine.
The Raptors not being allowed to play in Toronto is not good news for the Blue Jays, but as for the reasons mentioned above, there is hope.