Toronto mayor says talks underway with Blue Jays, Raptors on return to play


Toronto Mayor John Tory said Tuesday that there have been preliminary talks with Major League Baseball's Blue Jays and the NBA's Raptors about a return to action as restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic begin to ease.

Tory said the city is working with the Ontario provincial government on decision-making regarding the Raptors, and that "things are moving forward quite nicely." Tory did not provide details on the discussions, but the NBA is currently planning to allow teams to open practice facilities starting Friday, though government clearance would be required.

"I expect there will be some news to report on that in a way again that is going to be consistent in making sure our team and our players [will not] be put at a competitive disadvantage," Tory said. "But at the same time respecting completely the imperatives we have with regard to public health and stopping the spread of COVID-19."

The NBA was originally planning to allow facilities to open last Friday before pushing the date back by a week. It has said it may do so again if more time is needed.

Once facilities open, workouts will be limited. The Associated Press reported last week, citing a person with knowledge of the league's plans, that players would have to wear face masks inside facilities except when working out, and that any staff members present would have to wear face masks and gloves.

Additionally, a minimum distance of 12 feet would be required as a buffer between players and staff members working with them.