Many team sports competitions in both adult and youth leagues will not be allowed in California until at least Jan. 25, according to an announcement issued Monday by the California Department of Public Health.
A few outside, low-contact sports in Los Angeles County are exempt from the latest order about team play, such as biking, cross country, and golf, as well as a handful of others. However, while L.A. County remains in the “widespread” or “purple” tier, outside moderate-contact sports and all indoor sports are being restricted from hosting team play.
Team competitions, meets, races, or similar events are authorized only if both teams are located in the same county and the sport is authorized on the state’s Public Health Department website or if both teams are located in immediately bordering counties and the sport is authorized in both counties on the state’s website.
“The guidance applies to all organized youth sports — including school- and community-sponsored programs and privately organized clubs and leagues — and adult recreational sports (hereafter youth and adult sports),” state Public Health officials said in the announcement. “This guidance does not apply to collegiate or professional sports.”
The latest guidance also recommends that participants in youth and adult sports wear face coverings, even when performing heavy exertion, and that social distancing guidelines should be followed “to the maximum extent possible.”
Observers, such as parents and guardians, are still allowed at youth practices and games. However, crowds should be reduced and physical distancing should be maintained, officials said.
Spectators for adult sports are not permitted at this time, and while not required, youth sports participants living in counties under the Regional Stay at Home Order are encouraged to limit their sports activities to their own households.
“The return-to-competition date will be reassessed by Jan. 4, based on California disease transmission trends and is subject to change at any time given the level of COVID-19 transmission in California,” the announcement read.
This latest update from the state comes two weeks after the California Interscholastic Federation, or CIF, which serves as the governing body for high school sports in California, announced that school athletic practice and competition would not be returning until after Jan. 1 at the earliest.
The move puts all practices and competition on hold for the CIF’s 1,605 member schools and more than 800,000 student-athletes.
Superintendent Mike Kuhlman of the William S. Hart Union High School District said Tuesday that athletic extracurriculars, which have been largely restricted to athletic conditioning for the past semester, have been put on hold at district sites for the final days of this semester. But he said the district plans to return athletes to their athletic conditioning programs once again in the final days of winter break.
“Kids will be able to do athletic conditioning once again,” Kuhlman said. “And we are hoping that once those numbers come down, the state will allow us to expand from conditioning to do practice. But that’s really all dependent upon the state and county.”