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Governor’s new directives allow for limited-contact sports to resume

By Sudhiti Naskar

In continuation of the “Road to Recovery: Moving to a New Normal” action plan, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Friday afternoon that certain sports will be allowed to resume.

The directive permits sports such as baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, golf, track and field, cross country, sideline no-contact cheer and dance, swimming and diving, gymnastics, fencing and kickball.

Only minimal contact and non-contact sports are being allowed to resume. They have been categorized based on “contact level and associated risk,” said Gov. Sisolak during his press briefing from Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas.

The new directive will allow “recreational sports practice, training and play for specified non-contacts and minimal contact sports statewide including but not limited to travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park districts sports programs,” said Sisolak

The governor also noted that “sports are paramount to the mental and physical health, growth and development of leadership skills among our youth. We are enacting these new standards so that those who enjoy competing can begin safely returning to play.”

Practices, games, competitions and tournaments can resume if the safety measures are followed properly.

Tournaments “may begin taking place no earlier than Oct. 24, 2020, if all requirements are met,” he added.

The directive goes into effect today, Saturday, Oct. 3.

Some sports still not permitted 

The announcement is about “youths and adults recreation sports not pertaining to professional or collegiate level sports,” said Sisolak.

Full contact sports remain prohibited at this time and include but are not limited to football, rugby, wrestling, boxing, hockey, lacrosse, group cheer and dance, basketball, water polo and martial arts.

The directives also do not allow sports to resume at the high school level. Responding to concerns raised by many as to why high school sports will not be allowed, Sisolak raised a number of issues including the possibility of increasing exposure for educators and students.

Can the districts support and manage athletics when the budgets are tight due to pandemic and already strained resources, he asked.

He also noted that the Interscholastic Activities Association retains authority over high school sports and when and how they will resume.

Sports that are not mentioned in the current directive cannot resume.

A more detailed list can be found at https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/

Source: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/

While the gradual reopenings are good news for many, Nevada is still experiencing serious pandemic situations and the concerns echoed in the governor’s directives as well. Sisolak reminded Nevadans repeatedly that sports can resume only when they follow the strict safety measures required to ensure safety for all involved.

Protocols and guidelines 

All sports will have to abide by a number of protocols and guidelines; some of these involve screening for athletes, coaches and staff, limited equipment sharing, disinfecting equipment and cooperating with health authorities on contact tracing. 

Also, any league, association, venue, facility, organization “must adopt a sports COVID-19 preparedness and safety plan,” Sisolak said. They will also need to submit the safety plan to the Nevada Department of Business and Industry which is responsible for approving it.

He also urged Nevadans to remember some easy, general findings that help people engage in sports safely.

  • Outdoor locations are safer than indoor locations
  • Small groups are safer than large groups
  • Sports that can be played with a distance of 6 feet or more are safer than close contact sports
  • Shorter duration is better than longer duration.

He suggested that players, coaches, managers and spectators should allow for departure and arrival without congestion. To make that possible, there must be an interval of 30 minutes, at least, between games and practices. He also recommended that players and spectators should leave “immediately after the games” and not stay for socializing with other individuals.

Sisolak added that he is “trusting and counting on” coaches, managers, parents and officials to make these new openings in sports a success.

Read more news about COVID-19 in Reno

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