It is safe to say that 2020 may be one of the more bizarre years seen in quite some time, but the muddy waters may be getting a little clearer in the world of sports. Governor Jay Inslee’s office issued new guidelines today, June 5th, that will immediately be effective in letting professional sports leagues activities resume in Washington. Also addressed in the release were outdoor team youth sports as well as outdoor recreational team sports for counties that are in Phase 2 or Phase 3.
Looking at youth and adult outdoor sports first, most counties in the state are currently in Phase 2 of the plan to reopen counties. In the guidelines released, in Phase 2 team practices can resume, “if players are limited to groups of five in separate parts of the field, separated by a buffer zone and practice can follow social distancing of a minimum of five feet between players with no contact.” To even really get to the aforementioned point however, the release continues, “Each league, organization or club must publish and follow a ‘return to play’ safety plan. Parents and household members must not congregate on the sidelines during practice.” This is for counties in Phase 2.
It’s Phase 3 when events will really start to look “normal” again, but there will be some adjustments. Once Phase 3 is reached, teams can resume playing games again. Some of the stipulations include that at any one game no more than 50 individuals can gather for the event. It does clarify though that those areas that have a complex of more than one field in the area that 50 individual limit is based per field, not per complex.
This is a developing story as areas start to really dig into their plans and approach on how to get kids and adults back out on the playing surfaces.
Now a little more on the national scale, professional sports indoor and outdoor. As of today, June 5th, “all professional sporting activities, including back office operations of up to 50 people, unless a county’s then-current phase permits a greater number of people, full team practices, and spectator-less games and competitions, can resume”. There are a few stipulations that need to be met though and include:
- That organizations follow both the league-wide and team-specific safety plans.
- League-wide plans are approved by the player’s association or union representing players of the team.
- Teams must report in advance to their county health department the dates of full team practices as well as when spectator-less preseason games will occur.
A noteworthy addition is, according to KOMO News, Inslee’s office said, neither school sanctioned or college sanctioned sports are covered by the guidelines mentioned above and that, “nothing in these requirements should be read to obligate a facility owner to reopen a facility.”
The WIAA says they are continuing to wait and see how things continue to progress and expect with each step forward gets them closer to as normal looking Fall season as possible but it remains a wait and see situation for High School sports.