HQ guidelines allow outdoor sports to resume in times of pandemic

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(KGTV) – California public health officials on Friday announced an easing of restrictions on outdoor sports in counties that meet specific case rate criteria.

Under the new guidelines, all outdoor sports, including high and moderate contact sports, can resume once a county reaches a COVID-19 case rate of 14 per 100,000 or less.

Currently, 19 counties in the state meet the threshold required to resume outdoor sports. San Diego County had 22.2 cases per 100,000 residents on Friday.

If a county is able to restart competition for high and moderate contact sports under the new guidelines, it will not be required to stop outdoor sports if its case rate exceeds the threshold of 14 per 100,000.

California’s new outdoor sports guidelines go into effect on February 26. Face coverings will still be required during training, conditioning and competition, depending on the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the guidelines at a press conference on Friday, granting help from advocates like the Let Them Play CA group to help develop the guidelines.

“We looked at the data, the science, the best practices across the country,” Newsom said Friday in Alameda County. “We are now convinced, with the new guidelines we are releasing today, that we can revive youth sport in the state of California … with, as always, caveats.”

These warnings include several requirements for high contact sports:

  • The new directive requires weekly testing for coaches and players 13 and over in football, rugby and water polo, with test results available within 24 hours of play. water polo are likely to be played with face covers with close contact.
  • The new guidelines do not require that players outside of football, rugby and water polo be tested if the majority of a team is under 13, because “the evidence shows that young children do not appear to be. major sources of transmission – not to each other or to adults, “the state said. Coaches in this situation should still be tested.
  • Moderate contact outdoor sports such as baseball, cheerleading, and softball can be played without a test requirement in eligible counties.

California guidelines also strongly recommend safeguards to “the greatest extent possible”, including:

  • Face cover during the game;
  • Physical distancing during the game;
  • Test – antigen or PCR;
  • Hygiene and sanitation protocols;
  • Limitations of mixing by participants; and
  • Travel considerations

More information on state guidelines can be found online here.

“Youth sports are important for the physical and mental health of our children, and our public health approach has sought to balance these benefits with the risks of COVID-19,” said Dr Tomás Aragón, director of the CDPH and head of state public health. “With case rates and hospitalizations falling across California, we are allowing outdoor competition to resume, with modifications and measures to reduce risk, in counties with lower case rates. “

For counties that do not meet the all sports reopening threshold, California’s reopening guidelines allow the following activities to resume based on a county’s level assignment:

In addition to the case rate criteria, California guidelines prohibit anyone from attending training or competitions if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or are in isolation / quarantine for COVID-19.

In a joint statement, Golden State High School football coaches and Let Them Play CA thanked lawmakers and advocates who have pushed for the return of youth sports:

“To our athletes: There is a great lesson in this effort for all of you. When something matters to you and is important, no matter the odds, no matter if you win or lose, you try. The simple fact trying can set in motion events that motivate you, guide you and teach you to strive for something that matters. We tried for you in this case for a very simple reason: we love you and we believe in you. “

San Diego County Supervisory Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher applauded lawmakers and Torrey Pines High School Ron Gladnick, who was among the Golden State High School football coaches:

“We have seen tremendous progress on vaccines and lower cases, and this is a positive step forward in our recovery. I applaud Governor Newsom and congratulate Ron Gladnick who has been a great partner to work with my office, the governor and our public health experts to see progress in the effort to let our children play. “

Friday’s announcement came ahead of a decision by a San Diego Superior Court judge on Friday to grant a temporary restraining order that allows high school sports to resume under the same protocols as professional or college sports in the count.

“While there are obvious differences in size and age, the court focused on the similarities in gambling risks (related to COVID) and risks to the community. Respondents argue that, because there are less professional and collegiate teams, community risks are less allowed to play sports. If this were the test, the government could choose any group for preferential treatment. This argument is not convincing. Respondents also argue, alleging common sense, that older athletes are more mature. This Court is not convinced that this is correct, and in any event, no convincing evidence has been presented to support this claim, ” court documents said.

Lawyers from California, San Diego County and those representing Nicholas Gardinera, a senior from Scripps Ranch High School, and Cameron Woolsey, a senior from Mission Hills High School, argued in court on Friday afternoon.

The ruling allows “petitioners or other county youth to participate in high school or youth sports as long as they follow the same or similar COVID-19 protocols imposed for competition in professional and / or college sports. in the county. “

“With young people in a similar situation, or even less likely to contract COVID, the analysis then turns to whether there was a rational basis for distinguishing between professional, college and youth sports. This Court concludes, on the basis of the evidence submitted for this hearing, that there is not. The game is the same, the risk of spread is similar, young people are already practicing, and with school closings or attendance restrictions, young people are isolated, ”the court said in its ruling.

An order challenging the injunction will be heard on March 5.

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