State health officials lay out guidelines for youth, adult sports starting June 10

The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday laid out guidelines for youth and adult sports as Governor Tim Walz prepares to loosen restrictions in several areas on June 10 amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We're working hard to get Minnesotans back on fields, courts, ice, and more — safely — during COVID-19. We have turned the dial to allow for more activity and more people as safely as possibly by updating our guidance for youth and adult sports. 

“Different risk levels mean different precautions. We are hopeful and optimistic that if the COVID-19 health measures continue in the current direction, we will be able to resume games and competitions for medium-risk sports by the end of June,” state health officials said in a statement.

Walz deemed several sports high-risk, which involve participants being in close or sustained contact with each other, a lack of protective barriers and a high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants. Those sports include rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, wresting, football, lacrosse, hockey, group dance and group cheer.

Medium-risk sports are identified as those that involve close and sustained contact, but have protective equipment in place that can reduce the spread of respiratory particles. Those sports include kayaking, canoeing, gymnastics, table tennis, swimming, fencing, group cycling, group running, group sailing, volleyball, soccer basketball, baseball, softball and bowling.

Sports at medium or high risk must keep interaction between players without contact. The focus must be on skill development, and there can’t be any games or competitions, even if they are traveling out of state where they’re allowed.

Low risk sports are those that can be done individually, with social distancing and minimal sharing of equipment. Those include archery, clay target shooting, individual running, cycling, swimming, diving, canoeing, kayaking, golf, sailing, weight lifting and others. Games are permitted, but can’t have parents or guardians attending.

For adult sports, the State Department of Health strongly encourages any games or practices to be outside as much as possible. Participants should wear masks as much as is feasible. Equipment should not be shared, indoor activities shouldn’t have more than 10 players and no more than 25 outdoors.

Starting June 10, all public swimming pools can open at 50 percent capacity and must have a Covid-19 Preparedness Plan before opening.

State health officials urge that while people can get outside to play sports and do so in small groups, strict Covid-19 guidelines should remain in place. That includes practicing social distancing whenever possible, wearing a mask whenever feasible and a consistent practice of washing your hands and using hand sanitizer.