State releases guidance for all organized sports

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PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times

RBC | The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) today released guidance for organized sports including organized youth recreational and adult amateur leagues, club sports, interscholastic, and other organization-sponsored athletics. The guidance includes information for each phase of the State’s new dial framework, released yesterday and addresses key topics like facility considerations, spectators, as well as tournaments, transportation, and travel. 

Participating in sports, in any capacity during this pandemic, holds an inherent risk of possible infection for participants and risk of transmission to other individuals, such as their household members. Stakeholders must consider the risks and benefits of participation in their plans for resuming organized sports.

Adherence to public health guidelines is essential to minimize risk and disruptions to athletic activities. In addition, The risk of COVID-19 spread can be different depending on the type of activity which is based on:

  • Number of people a player or coach interacts with;
  • Type of physical interaction;
  • Length of time of the close interaction;
  • Sharing of equipment across multiple players;
  • Environment of play (e.g. indoors, outdoors); and
  • Layers of protection that are in place, including:
    • face coverings
    • physical distancing
    • hand hygiene
    • cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, etc. 

Physical exertion, including sports, involves forced exhalation, which may increase the risk of transmission, similar to that seen in singing or playing certain musical instruments. Therefore, increased physical distancing of participants and spectators beyond a minimum of 6 feet is reasonable. Infection control measures applied collectively, such as screening, physical distancing of coaches and spectators, hand hygiene, and facial coverings where appropriate are especially important given that many sports involve close contact of individuals at various times during training or competition.

Teams that desire to practice and compete without disruption are strongly advised to take these recommendations seriously. Athletes, teams, and organizations should hold each other accountable to follow guidelines and ensure compliance with infection control measures during and beyond play. Behaviors and decisions of participants outside the sports setting may impact the ability of the entire team to participate in training or competition if a single athlete or coach becomes exposed or ill. 

These guidelines can be applied to other settings where physical activity and forced exhalation occur, and parks and recreation staff (or their equivalent) and state sporting governing bodies are encouraged to enforce these guidelines. 

Sports settings such as professional or collegiate entities should adhere to the specific guidelines for their governing body and specifications in public health orders. Sports with school age kids need to follow the school case investigation/outbreak guidance.  

The full guidance is available online.  Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

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