COVID-19 Reopenings: San Francisco To Allow Youth Sports With Safety Protocols In Place

Following the lead of other Bay Area counties and the state, San Francisco health officials late Friday greenlighted the restart of youth sports, but with COVID-19 precautions put in place.

COVID-19 Reopenings:  San Francisco To Allow Youth Sports With Safety Protocols In Place

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Following the lead of other Bay Area counties and the state, San Francisco health officials late Friday greenlighted the restart of youth sports, but with COVID-19 precautions put in place.

However, officials also warned that their approval is contingent on San Francisco moving into the Red Tier next week. Based on analysis of San Francisco’s current health indicators, the city will meet the state’s Red Tier criteria on Tuesday, March 2.

Under the order, prep sports competition will be limited to 25-player teams unless a larger roster is required to properly compete in a sport.

Competition is currently limited to teams within San Francisco, Marin, Alameda and San Mateo counties.

For baseball, softball, field hockey, gymnastics, cheerleading and girls or women’s lacrosse, face covering will be required in the sidelines and the participants must also maintain at least six-feet separation while not in the game.

The order also includes outdoor high-contact sports that are permitted in the Orange Tier, including football, basketball, soccer, rugby, crew and boys’ lacrosse. The same safety measures will be included in those sports.

As for youth sports provided by the city’s park and recreation department, a seven-week spring season for soccer, baseball, softball, flag football and lacrosse will be offered. The mini-season will start April 10 and run up to Memorial Day.

“Kids have waited a long time to be allowed to play league sports,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Since we own most of the city’s athletic fields, we are going to make sure they don’t wait a moment longer than necessary. We are thrilled to have them back on our fields. Playing outdoors provides crucial health benefits for youth, from relieving stress to promoting cooperation to sharpening problem solving skills.”

Adult rec leagues will also be allowed to resume play with practices beginning on April 5 and running through nine weeks. Adult leagues are generally subject to the same safety protocols that apply to outdoor youth sports. Adult league play will run weeknights from April 5 up to Memorial Day, and weekends starting March 27 and 28 for nine weeks.

Other limits on youth sport include:

  • Consistent with state guidelines, no travel is allowed for out of state tournaments.
  • Adults may coach more than one outdoors sports team cohort at a time if they wear face coverings and adhere to physical distancing.
  • Physical conditioning, practice, skill building and training are allowed so long as they take place outdoors with at least six feet of physical distancing, face coverings, and stable cohorts.
  • Indoor pools are closed with the exception of basic swimming and drowning prevention classes for children, which are allowed at up to 25 percent capacity (based on child participants only) with safety protocols.
  • Locker rooms will remain closed. However, youth participating in sports requiring specialized equipment (such as football) may use indoor locker rooms to change their clothing as long as: locker rooms are limited to 10 percent of the facility’s maximum capacity; face coverings are worn at all times; showers remain closed; participants minimize their time inside; only one team uses the locker room at a time. Implementation of ventilation measures for locker room use is recommended.
  • Outdoor sports programs may not coordinate, arrange, or engage in travel outside of San Francisco so that its participants or members can participate in athletic activity that is not allowed in San Francisco (e.g., playing a sport not currently allowed in San Francisco, or practicing or competing outside San Francisco without face coverings for a sport that is allowed in San Francisco with face coverings.
  • Water polo will not be permitted because it cannot be played with face coverings.
Source : CBS San Francisco More