“First of all, we would like to remind you that the overall framework for the gradual opening of economic activities is defined at the provincial level,” read a statement from Santé Montréal “At the moment, professional sports activities are not targeted for an upcoming re-opening.
“At the regional level, we are currently defining the public health framework for the opening of municipal and community activities. We do not recommend, as of today, the return of organized sports activities.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Quebec government also postponed the reopening of all economic activities and elementary schools in Montreal by another week to May 25. Montreal has been among the hardest hit regions across Canada throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with 17 918 confirmed cases, which represents over half of Quebec’s total cases.
As per Major League Soccer’s guidelines, clubs must first receive approval from their city’s public health organization before returning to action.
Montreal’s inability to secure approval to resume training complicates Major League Soccer’s attempts to move closer to a return to play. Four MLS teams began individual workouts on Wednesday with Sporting Kansas City, Inter Miami, Orlando City and Atlanta United receiving the green light to train. Nashville SC and the Houston Dynamo began individual workouts on Thursday.
MLS worked in tandem with medical experts to develop this new safety protocol, which allows players to train all while respecting government orders. The league maintains that the workouts are completely voluntary at this time as players can opt to remain home. Early versions of these workouts have shown players getting their temperatures taken before entering the facilities while wearing protective masks.
Before play was suspended, the Impact were off to a good start under Thierry Henry, claiming four out of a possible six points in league play and progressing to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Given the recent news, Henry’s men will need wait a little longer before returning to the pitch.