Face coverings required when youth, adult sports resume in January

PRIOR LAKE, MN - DEC 29: Lakeville North defenseman Mario Gasparini carries the puck against the Eden Prairie Eagles during their prep hockey game at Dakotah! Ice Arena in Prior Lake, MN on Saturday, December, 29, 2018. (Josh Holmberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Athletes will be required to wear face coverings during practices and games when youth and adult sports resume in January, according to updated guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health. 

Gov. Tim Walz loosened some of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions earlier this month, allowing youth and adult sports to resume practices on Jan. 4 and games and scrimmages on Jan. 14. 

MDH updated its guidance Monday ahead of the restart, requiring all athletes and coaches to wear face coverings at all times with a few exceptions for certain sports where it could become a safety or choking hazard. 

According to the guidance, wrestlers do not have to wear face coverings during wrestling contact. 

For gymnastics and cheerleading, athletes may remove temporarily remove their face covering during activities such as tumbling, stunting, flying or on certain apparatuses. However, they must wear face coverings for all other practices and routines. 

Swimmers, divers and other athletes who participate in water sports do not have to wear face coverings while they are in the water. 

The guidance also states spectators will not be allowed at games or practices unless necessary due to the participants age, disability or medical condition. Prior to the four-week pause on sports, a limited number of spectators had been allowed at games for some sports.