Canadian officials concerned about Raptors travel to U.S. in season

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Canada’s deputy chief of public health says the Toronto Raptors have presented a good plan to play at home during the upcoming NBA season, but concerns remain over enforcing strict health protocols and travel over the border with the United States.

If the Raptors cannot play their home games in Toronto next season, they are leaning toward playing in Tampa Bay. 

Dr. Howard Njoo said Friday that public health officials from Ontario, Toronto and the Public Health Agency of Canada have had discussions with the Raptors, who are hoping to play at Scotiabank Arena despite spikes in COVID-19 cases at home and in the U.S.

Njoo said the Raptors presented a plan with good health protocols and have learned from the NBA’s “bubble” experiment, when the league finished the 2019-20 season at an isolated campus in Florida.

But Njoo said it would be “tough on everyone involved” to observe the same health measures over a months-long NBA season during which teams are not isolated together.

He also said cross-border travel “continues to be an issue.”

The Canada-U.S. border is closed to nonessential travel and those entering the country are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. That would apply to NBA teams coming into the nation.