With the good news of Minnesota high school and youth sports’ comeback, the teams have resume practicing and playing games under following the guidelines of COVID-19 SOPS. While updating his four-week pause on sports played by tens of thousands of Minnesota high school and youth athletes, Gov. Tim Walz stated that,
“We need to get kids playing again. We know that the numbers show that kids aren’t as susceptible.”
The teams made return to their respective fields on Monday, Jan. 4 when high school permits to practice resume but looks like the games will be approved on next Thursday, 14-Jan-2020 so, the first games and scrimmages are allowed to begin 10 days later, with the continuous usage of mask and strictly following the COVID SOPs. The plans to post updated guidance to its members of school regarding the order of spectator to limits on its website is also expected to be shared with athletic directors and other school officials at a weekly league meeting the same day.
On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz answered one last big question about the comeback of youth sports,
“Fans can be there, too, but their numbers will be limited.”
Venues must limit capacity to 25%, with a maximum of up to 150 people, following limits for indoor or outdoor venues, whereas, more than 250 people can attend at outdoor events. As well as fitness studios and gyms will be able to reopen at a quarter of their capacity, with the limitation of 100 people, where everyone must wear masks and maintain 12 feet of social distancing. Gov. Tim Walz also called out the youth sports, as an organized sports and said that,
“Organized sports are riskier than individual exercise, as they typically occur in groups. We can limit risk for participants, coaches, and families by first returning to practices in smaller groups with heightened precautions. By starting small and keeping transmission low now, we can begin to consider returning to games and competitions that require interactions between different teams and the presence of spectators.”
Gov. Tim Walz also restricted the capacity at gyms, which includes maintaining 9 feet of social distancing between people and machines. Fitness classes can increase up to 25 people maintaining social distancing and following major COVID-19 SOPs requirements.
The main reason of the comeback of youth sports is Minnesota is witnessing a considerable decline in its COVID-19 positivity rate. A positive flow in November, endorsed to community transmission of the virus, led to the state shutting down football and volleyball early and delaying the start of winter sports.
On the other hand, The Health Department of Minnesota has issued a detailed list of recommendations and precautions for high school athletics, including keeping players in small “pods,” to wear a mask whenever possible and maintain social distancing from team members when waiting on the bench. But there are some limited exceptions for some sports, including wrestling (where masks could easily become a choking or visual hazard), playing gymnastics and during cheerleading (where face coverings could get caught on objects) also including games like swimming and diving.