By Joshua Huff, sports editor
MONTGOMERY – Youth sports are set to resume in the coming days following Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s decision to amend her safer-at-home order to relax restrictions on a multitude of close-contact businesses and activities.
Along with the announcement that theaters, childcare facilities and other entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen on Friday, May 22, 2020, youth athletic activities throughout the state have been allowed to resume practice on May 23 and competition is allowed to resume on June 15.
“The AHSAA, its Central Board of Control, along with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), has updated its guidelines regarding summer activities,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “The biggest change is our schools may re-open on June 1, a week earlier than the June 8 date previously discussed. We are elated to have a definite date for our coaches and student-athletes to return to their schools where they can continue to experience valuable educational lessons through athletics.”
The relaxation of the rules comes with many caveats, which are as follows:
- Players, spectators and other participants should minimize in-person contact and maintain 6 feet of separation.
- Anyone participating in sporting events or practices should minimize in-person contact with anyone over 65 years of age or people with health conditions for the next 14 days.
- Players need to be screened before coming to facilities. That includes answering the following questions:
- Have you or the child been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case?
- Are you or the child experience a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat?
- Have you or the child had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Have you or the child experienced loss of taste or smell?
- Have you or the child experienced vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
- Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must leave the sporting event immediately.
- People must increase hygienic practices.
- Players, coaches, officials and spectators over the age of 5 must wear a mask at all times expect when a player or official is directly participating in the athletic activity.
- Keep 6 feet of distance between people if not in same household.
- Nobody can high five, offer handshakes and other physical contact unless directly participating in athletic activity, and if so, players must attempt to refrain from physical contact if possible.
- No sharing of water coolers, drinking stations, water bottles, cups or other drinking devices.