Updated Youth and Adult Sports COVID Guidance

Updated Youth and Adult Sports Guidance Santa Cruz County.

The California Department of Public Health has issued new guidance permitting certain organized youth and adult sports to resume, including school and community-based sports, as well as private club and league sports.

The guidance allows sports competitions to resume based on a community’s level of COVID-19 transmission and degree of participant interaction. It also places limits on inter-team competitions to teams from the same county or eligible bordering counties, and limits youth sports spectators to immediate household members.

Local health departments must be notified of any inter-county competitions (and reserve the right to deny the competition for health and safety reasons), and each team must be eligible to participate based on their home county’s COVID-19 transmission rates, which are categorized using California’s tier system under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. See covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy

Furthermore, tournaments and other events involving more than two teams are permitted only with the authorization of the local health department in each team’s home county.

Outdoor sports permitted under the Widespread (Purple) Tier include track and field, swimming, golf, cross county and other running competitions, disc golf, archery, bicycling, solo-rider equestrian events, and other sports not requiring close contact with another person.

Should the county progress to the Substantial (Red) Tier, outdoor sports such as baseball, softball, volleyball, field hockey, girls’ lacrosse, gymnastics, and others with limited close contact with another person would be allowed.

Unless they qualify for an exception (see below), competitions between teams for high-contact outdoor sports such as basketball, football, soccer, water polo, boys’ lacrosse, and others would not be permitted until the county is in the Moderate (Orange) Tier. At this tier, limited indoor sports would also be allowed.

For a full list of permitted sports by tier, see https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/outdoor-indoor-recreational-sports.aspx

For youth sports, parents/guardians must be informed about the transmission risks associated with sports activities and are required to sign an informed consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgment of the risks. Weekly antigen or PCR testing of all participants and coaches is strongly encouraged.

Outdoor high-contact sports may be played in Purple Tier or Red Tier counties if participants or parents/guardians signed informed consent waivers, and testing is performed with test results available within 24 hours of competition. Testing requirements apply only to football, rugby and water polo, and do not apply if at least the half the team is age 12 or under (coaches must still be tested).

Outdoor moderate-contact sports may be played in the Purple Tier if the county’s adjusted case rate is below 14 percent and participants or parents/guardians signed informed consent waivers.

For outdoor and indoor sports, face coverings must be worn by athletes not actively participating in the activity as well as all coaches, support staff and eligible spectators, observers must maintain six feet of social distancing, sharing of water bottles and other personal items are not permitted, and related indoor activates such as conditioning should be limited and comply with capacity limits.

Out-of-state competitions are not allowed.

Professional sports, collegiate sports and community events such as marathons and endurance races are NOT included in this guidance. For more on those sports, see https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance.