Toronto not banning sports events through June yet due to COVID-19

The court is illuminated at Scotiabank Arena ahead of Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Raptors and the Warriors. (Chris Young/CP)

Toronto’s ban on city-led events through June 30 does not prohibit sporting events at private facilities.

That means the Maple Leafs and Raptors still could hypothetically play games at Scotiabank Arena and the Blue Jays could play at the Rogers Centre.

The same could hold true for the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack on June 27 and the RBC Canadian Open June 11-14 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club after Toronto’s event ban was announced Tuesday.

However, almost all major sports leagues and events around the world have been suspended, cancelled or postponed indefinitely because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Also, Ontario extended its state of emergency through April 14 on Monday, It prohibits events or gatherings of more than five people.

There also is an international travel ban in place, prohibiting anyone deemed non-essential from entering Canada. Almost all major sports events in Toronto include athletes from outside Canada.

Woodbine put out a statement shortly after the Toronto ban was announced, acknowledging the news.

“Furthermore, due to the postponement of the start of the 2020 thoroughbred season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have already been discussing and evaluating the potential postponement of the Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run horse race in North America. Those discussions will be accelerated in light of this news and we will provide an update in the coming days,” the statement says.

When asked about BMO Field, a city-owned, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment-operated facility that is home to Toronto FC of the MLS and the CFL’s Argonauts, and Lamport Stadium, home to rugby league’s Wolfpack, a city spokesman said the mass gathering prohibition still applies.

In its release, the city encourages event organizers to follow physical distancing guidelines.

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