The Canadian government has denied a request by the NBA and the Raptors to play in Toronto amid the pandemic, and the team says it will start the season next month in Tampa, Florida.

An official familiar with the federal government's decision told The Associated Press on Friday there is too much COVID-19 circulating in the United States to allow for cross-border travel that is not essential. The official says there's a chance that at some point next year the decision could be reviewed.

The Raptors and the NBA needed an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must isolate for 14 days. The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel.