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Rapid COVID-19 testing could help bring the Blue Jays back to Toronto

Earlier this week, Mark Shapiro hosted a media availability and mentioned that he’s optimistic that the Blue Jays can play home games in Toronto come 2021.

It was sort of a puzzling statement given the fact there’s no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic and things down south are getting worse and worse by the day. The Canadian government opted to not allow the Blue Jays to play at home in 2020 because of issues with players crossing the Canada-U.S. border. Why would this be different come April?

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But, on Thursday, news came out that the federal government is testing a pilot project for rapid COVID-19 testing in Alberta beginning in November.

Currently, travellers returning to Canada from outside the country are legally required to quarantine for 14 days upon entry. Beginning on Nov. 2 at the Coutts land border crossing and the Calgary International Airport, travellers will be offered a COVID-19 test upon arrival before proceeding into the required quarantine. If the test comes back negative, they will be able to leave their place of quarantine as long as they commit to getting a second test on Day 6 or 7 after arrival.

If the trial is successful, we would likely see Canadian border restrictions eased as travellers wouldn’t have to do a 14-day quarantine upon arrival into the country. Instead, travellers could leave their quarantine once they receive a negative result.

From a Blue Jays’ perspective, this could result in the federal government being more comfortable with baseball players travelling frequently across the Canada-U.S. border. There’s obviously no guarantee that this will work and public safety is still a top priority over professional sports, but it’s certainly a positive step in the right direction for the Blue Jays and their goal of playing at the Rogers Centre in 2021.