SEATTLE (NEWS 1130) — Seattle won’t see the same crush of Canadians when the Toronto Blue Jays visit next month.
The baseball series would typically attract many British Columbians to hotels, bars, and the stadium, but Craig MacEwan with Sportsnet 650 says Wednesday’s border announcement changes that.
“It’s not just British Columbians, who go down. There’s people from Alberta, there’s people from Manitoba. Any [fans of the] Blue Jays that are close to Western Canada see this is their prime opportunity to head it to an incredible city, obviously, Seattle and experience some of the sights and sounds of the Pacific Northwest,” he explains.
“But more than that, these Jays fans don’t get to see their baseball team very often … I know that people have [the dates] circled months in advance.”
Canada had announced it would allow fully vaccinated Americans into the country starting Aug. 9, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says it will be keeping the U.S. land border closed until at least Aug. 21st.
U.S. officials say given the continued spread of COVID-19 paired with the country’s vaccination rates, there is an ongoing threat to human life and national interests.
MacEwan says the border restrictions mean Seattle will take a hit to its economy, as typically hotels and AirBnB are booked up for the baseball series.
The Blue Jays are set to play in Seattle from Aug. 13 to 15 — which is about a week before the border could reopen.
“It’s terribly hard to get a hotel room, prices get jacked way up down there if you’re trying to go through … So it’s a massive loss for Seattle, just from the simple fact from an economic point of view, but also from the fans point of view.
While MacEwan has heard some real disappointment from fans who had planned to head down to Seattle, “They also do understand the world of the pandemic.”
“We’re really hoping for a return to a little bit of what we used to have as opposed to what we’ve been living with for the past 16 months,” he adds.
The Canada – U.S. border has been closed for almost a year and a half.
– With files from Monika Gul