Push to get Blue Jays back in T.O. trending in right direction, say feds

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First it was Toronto FC coming home and now it’s time for the Blue Jays to finally return to the 6ix.

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While nothing is ever official until it is official, according to a report by Sportsnet, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, said Thursday the Jays’ application to play host to games at Rogers Centre is “trending in a very good direction” and doesn’t include any “showstoppers.”

The caveat is no timeline for a decision has been made with the clock ticking.

Njoo made the comments during a governmental COVID-19 news conference, offering hope the boys of summer may actually be able to return to Toronto after being forced to play their home games in Dunedin, Fla., and currently in Buffalo, NY.

What’s not known is whether a National Interest Exemption will be allowed to get the Jays back in town for a lengthy homestand that kicks off on July 30.

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Given the logistics associated with such a move across the border, the Blue Jays are expecting news from the feds by Friday.

Njoo said the Public Health Agency of Canada was “very aware,” of the timing by adding “we recognize what’s in play and we’re making the best possible efforts to render a decision in the right time frame that would be a good decision and a well-received decision by all.”

According to the Jays’ proposal, fully vaccinated players will be treated like any returning Canadian with unvaccinated players being restricted to their residence/hotel and the ballpark.

“I would say it’s trending in a very good direction at this point,” said Njoo. “We’re looking at the last details. I would say there aren’t any showstoppers or anything that we can’t really continue to discuss and move forward on.

“I can’t give you a date in terms of when a possible decision would be made for the National Interest Exemption. But I would say that in terms of the discussions from a public health perspective, they’ve been going very well.”

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