The Toronto Blue Jays received approval from the Canadian government Saturday to allow 15,000 fans at the Rogers Centre starting July 30, according to team president Mark Shapiro.
The news comes a day after the Jays received approval from the government to resume playing their home games in Toronto by the end of the month.
The Blue Jays’ game on July 30 against the Kansas City Royals will mark the first Major League Baseball game played at the Rogers Centre since September 2019.
The team could not play in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 due to cross-border travel restrictions.
Shapiro confirmed that the Rogers Centre can host a capacity of 15,000 under Stage 3 COVID rules because the province of Ontario will treat the domed stadium as an outdoor venue.
“We’re going to leave the room open every opportunity we possibly can, except for inclement weather,” Shapiro told Sportsnet. “In those cases, there will still be openings, increased circulation and we have a good plan in place for that.”
Full baseball capacity for the Rogers Centre is 49,000.
The Blue Jays played their 2020 season in Buffalo, N.Y., at the home field of their Triple-A affiliate. They began the 2021 season at their spring-training facility in Dunedin, Fla., before returning to Buffalo at the start of June.
Two of the three Major League Soccer franchises based in Canada — Toronto FC and CF Montreal — were also granted a return to the country recently and were set to host matches in their usual home digs Saturday night. It’s unclear when or if the Vancouver Whitecaps will be able to join them.
–Field Level Media