California public health officials update youth, adult recreational sports guidelines

The California Department of Public Health revised its guidance for youth and recreational adult sports Monday, outlining which are allowed in each of the state’s four pandemic reopening tiers. The new guidelines apply to all organized sports, including school and community-sponsored programs and privately organized leagues.

Sports are grouped in each of the four tiers by their potential for the virus to spread, with factors including how much contact players make with each other and whether a sport or activity is played indoors or outdoors.

“I know as a parent and athlete myself, how important exercise is to maintain physical and mental health, and we encourage members of the same household to do physical activities together and outdoors until the current and alarming surge passes,” said Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting public health officer.

Outdoor physical conditioning, practice and skill training are all allowed across the state, including in counties that have implemented a stay-at-home order or are under the state’s stay-at-home order.

Residents in a county with a stay-at-home order are strongly encouraged to avoid exercising with people from another household under any circumstance. “Despite how hard it has been to do this for so many months, it’s imperative now more than ever that we all follow public health guidance by staying home and not mixing with other households,” Pan said.

The new guidelines apply to counties that are not under the state’s stay-at-home order, according to the CDPH, which developed the guidelines with stakeholders like the California Interscholastic Federation and the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts.

More than two dozen sports and exercise activities are allowed in the most-restrictive “purple” tier (which is Alameda County’s), according to the new guidelines, including biking, golf, ice and roller skating, programs like yoga and Zumba, running, swimming, skiing, snowboarding and hiking.

For sports in all four tiers, competition will not be allowed to resume statewide until Jan. 25, 2021, at the earliest. State officials will re-evaluate that date in early January depending on the state of the pandemic and the state’s capacity of hospital and intensive care unit beds.

“We need everyone to take seriously their responsibility to protect their entire community, and in the meantime, we all can look forward to these activities we can resume in 2021,” Pan said.

The list of which sports and activities are allowed in each tier can be found at www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/outdoor-indoor-recreational-sports.aspx.

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