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NBA's Toronto Raptors forced to leave Canada to begin season in Florida

November 20, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors high-fives teammates during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference SemiFinals of the NBA Playoffs on September 11, 2020 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors will not begin the upcoming NBA season playing in front of hometown fans.

(CNN)The Toronto Raptors will not begin the upcoming NBA season playing in front of hometown fans.

Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions between Canada and the United States, the Raptors will start the 2020-21 season playing home games in Tampa, Florida.

Masai Ujiri, the team's president of basketball operations, said the Raptors worked with Canadian public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to develop a plan that would allow the team to play the 2020-21 season at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

"Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida," Ujiri said.

In July, the Canadian government denied permission for Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays to host games at their home ballpark Rogers Centre in Toronto due to similar travel restrictions.

The Blue Jays played their home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, during the shortened 2020 baseball season.

"We commit to continuing our work together, planning for a safe return to play in Toronto," Ujiri said.

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