Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press
Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief of public health, said Friday the Toronto Raptors have presented a good plan to host games at Scotiabank Arena during the 2020-21 NBA season amid the COVID-19 pandemic but that cross-border travel between Canada and the United States “continues to be an issue,” per the Canadian Press.
Njoo also noted that following protocols that were in place during the league’s 2019-20 season finish at Walt Disney World would be “tough on everyone involved” since teams won’t be in isolation. The bubble was a resounding success, with zero positive COVID-19 cases emerging.
The Canada-United States border is closed to non-essential travel, and those who do cross the border are subject to a 14-day quarantine, per the Canadian Press.
If the Raptors cannot play their home games in Toronto, the Tampa, Florida, area will be their most likely backup option, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet.
Per Grange, the Raptors would need clearance from three levels of government to play in Toronto, which is the team’s clear preference.
“If we can get it done in Toronto, we’d do it tomorrow,” a team executive told Grange.
COVID-19 cases in Ontario and the United States are on the rise. Per CBC, Ontario recorded a daily record of 1,575 new cases Thursday. According to the COVID Tracking Project, the United States had 150,526 cases Thursday, a daily record for the country.
A 72-game NBA season is scheduled to begin Dec. 22.