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Blue Jays back in Toronto? President says talks heating up but border closure is biggest obstacle

Last Updated Jun 1, 2021 at 5:14 pm EDT

An look at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY. Sportsnet

They went from the Dunedin Blue Jays to the Buffalo Blue Jays.

How does a return to Toronto sound?

President Mark Shapiro touched on the matter on Tuesday, saying that while talks with all levels of government have “been more substantive and frequent of late,” the current closure at the Canada-U.S. border makes it rather complicated.

“Until the border is open, there are significant challenges with us returning to Toronto to play,” said Shapiro, according to Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling.

Canada recently extended the closure at the border until June 21 with crossings shut down to most non-essential traffic for over a year now.

Measures were first brought in March 2020 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the first wave.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that preliminary talks had begun within the federal government about reopening the land border.

Shapiro says the biggest hurdle in getting the Blue Jays back home is Canada’s current 14-day mandatory quarantine.

“Until the border’s open, any proposal would have to create a set of circumstances allowing cross-border travel for players, families, and visiting teams,” Shapiro said.

“That’s not an easy thing to do. But it’s not impossible.”

The update comes as the Blue Jays open the portion of their home schedule at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, which they also called their home last season.

In contrast to last year, some fans will be allowed to attend games in person, which required a complete renovation to Sahlen Field as concourses can no longer be used for batting cages or player workout areas.

Talk of allowing fans back into stadiums is beginning to heat up as Toronto continues to vaccinate a significant part of its population.

On Tuesday night, the provincial government allowed 550 healthcare workers into Scotiabank Arena to watch Game 7 of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens deciding playoff game.

With files from Sportsnet

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