NCDHHS gives COVID-19 guidance on sports activity
By Submitted Story on May 25, 2020
The guidance, provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services (NCDHHS) will help administrators and participants of youth, college, and amateur sports programs reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
DHHS Recommends Limiting Sports Activities to Those in Which Participants Can Maintain Social Distancing, or Close Contact is Limited and Brief: Examples include golf, baseball, softball, cycling, swimming, diving, dance, tennis, disc golf, horseback riding, track and field, figure skating, curling, running, and pickleball.
DHHS Does Not Recommend Sports Activities for Which Participants Cannot Maintain Social Distancing and Close Contact is Frequent and/or Prolonged. Organized sports in which participants cannot maintain social distancing are not recommended. These sports typically require coaches and athletes who are not from the same household or living unit to be in close proximity, which increases their potential for exposure to COVID-19. For these sports, it is recommended that activities are limited to athletic conditioning, drills, and practices in which dummy players, sleds, punching bags and similar equipment are used, but athletes are not playing the actual sport itself. These activities can allow athletes to condition and prepare for sports if and when they are played in the future. Examples include football, competitive cheer, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and hockey.
Spectators are allowed when in compliance with the limit on mass gatherings and social distancing is adhered to.
Interim Guidance for Administrators and Participants of Youth, College & Amateur Sports Programs
Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure
Social distancing is a key tool we have to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing (“physical distancing”) means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people; do not gather in groups; stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings. Phase 2 includes several requirements and recommendations to support social distancing in spaces where the public may gather.
Administrators of Sports programs are required to: Adhere to the Mass Gathering Limits, if applicable; Follow requirements and restrictions for pools, if applicable; And follow requirements and restrictions for large venues, if applicable.
It is recommended that administrators of sports programs:
- Close or mark off all common seating areas like dugouts and bleachers or other areas that promote individuals gathering in groups.
- Clearly provide 6 feet floor markings on sidelines, waiting lines, and other areas where there may be a group of people.
- Designate and arrange specific equipment for use that is properly spaced at 6 feet apart.
- Consider workouts in groups/pods of individuals with the same group always working out together, including weight training, to limit exposure should someone become sick.
- Remind individuals not to shake hands, give high fives, or fist pumps before, during, or after the game or practice.
- Individuals should refrain from any unnecessary physical contact with others.
- Coaches, officials, and others should modify communication and avoid up close face to face communication.
- Schedule games to include adequate buffer times between games to allow athletes, coaches and staff to enter and exit the facility with limited interaction.
- Where possible, provide separate and clearly marked points of entry and exit for spectators.
- When sinks or showers are not 6 feet apart, consider limiting use to every other sink or shower so individuals can maintain social distancing while using.
- Provide readily available alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Personal training services and fitness coaching should practice social distancing to the extent possible. When these services require physical contact between coach and athlete, wash hands immediately prior to and following the contact and face to face contact should be minimal,