The coronavirus has changed many things over the last year. The way we work, the way we shop, even the way we see our friends and family. Now it’s also changed something that even at the start of the year wouldn’t be possible. In the next NBA season, the Toronto Raptors will be spending very little time in Toronto.
In fact, they’ll spend very little time in the country. That’s because they’ve been forced to play their homes games in Tampa, Florida because of travel restrictions imposed by the Canadian government. Since other teams in the league have been allowed to continue to play at their own stadiums, even if the infection rate in their state is much higher, many Raptors fans have hit out that this decision is unfair. Here’s a closer look at the reasoning behind the decision.
What the experts say
The main problem that’s led to this change is the rules when it comes to people crossing the border into Canada. Under government law, anybody entering the country from the US must quarantine for 14 days once they arrive. Of course, there are good reasons for this, as it gives the traveller time to realise whether they have the virus before exploring Canada. The only problem is that this rule would have forced players to isolate for two weeks before every home game against the Raptors. Due to the busy schedule of the NBA, it would be highly impractical and almost impossible to get every team to spend two weeks in isolation before every game played on the Canadian court. The owners of the team did appeal to the government to special dispensation to relax the rules for NBA players, but they refused. The rule is that people can only cross the Canadian border for essential reasons, and apparently succeeding in the NBA isn’t essential enough for the government right now.
Who else is affected?
Of course, the Raptors aren’t the only people to be affected by these new laws. In fact in comparison, the Raptors got off very lightly. The Canadian Football league decided to cancel their whole 2020 season due to the risks the virus posed on their players. Even places like casino halls have had to close their doors to players. Whilst casino games might not seem like a big loss in comparison to the huge spectacles of other sports, they’re enjoyed by tens of thousands of people around the country every day. Luckily, there are many online casino games that players can enjoy until the world gets back to normal.
Well, for the rest of the season, it looks like Canada’s only NBA team will be forced to play in Florida. Where exactly is still being decided, but for the first few games they’ll call the Amalie Arena home, as they’ll be sharing the stadium with Tampa Bay Lightning. For future games, the locations have yet to be decided. One thing for certain is when it comes to next year’s season, everyone will be hoping that the Raptors can come back to Toronto and fans can join them as well.