The Blue Jays received the green light from the Canadian government on Friday to play in Toronto later this month.
Major baseball club has been granted exemption from border restrictions imposed by Canada due to the pandemic.
The Blue Jays had asked the federal government to allow them to return to the Rogers Center since July 30, and they wanted an answer by Friday.
“After a two-year absence, the Toronto Blue Jays finally returned to Canada on July 30,” the team said in a statement. “The club has received a National Interest Waiver from the federal government, which allows it to play Major League Baseball games at the Rogers Center, while implementing robust health protocols.”
During the 2020 campaign, cut short by the pandemic, the Blue Jays played their home games in Buffalo, New York. They started this season in Dunedin, Florida, before returning to Buffalo.
The Canadian government has not allowed the team to play in Toronto due to the risk of spreading COVID-19, in light of the frequent travel required to the United States during baseball season.
“There’s no place like home,” the Blue Jays family tweeted.
Marco Mendicino, Canada’s immigration minister, said the decision was made in cooperation with the country’s public health agency, with the approval of provincial and municipal officials.
Mendicino commented that the plan includes significant restrictions on non-vaccinated individuals, “who will have to undergo a modified quarantine, will not be given permission to go anywhere other than a hotel or stadium, and will not interact with the general public.”
He added that there will be an official who will monitor compliance with the rules by each team.
He warned that “anyone who breaches the strict conditions will have their exemptions revoked and may also be subject to fines or charges under the Quarantine Act.”
The US-Canada border remains closed to non-essential travel, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that such restrictions could be lifted in mid-August.
Major League Baseball requires an exemption for players and employees who have not yet been vaccinated to participate in a game in Canada. As of this month, players who have been fully vaccinated and have valid work permits are no longer required to serve a 14-day quarantine upon entering Canadian soil, but some teams have players who have not yet been registered.
The Blue Jays last played at the 49,000-capacity Rogers Center on September 29, 2019, with a 8-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.