SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Public health officials in San Francisco along with representatives from the city’s Recreation and Park Department on Friday announced the expansion of youth sports in San Francisco.
With San Francisco’s anticipated reassignment to the red tier next week, officials said reduced restrictions will allow more outdoor contact sports organized and supervised through youth sports leagues, though there will be required safety protocols.READ MORE: Fawn Fire Update: 'I See My Life Gone'; Thousands Forced To Evacuate; Arson Suspected As Blaze Burns Homes
Based on analysis of San Francisco’s current health indicators, officials said San Francisco will meet the state’s red tier criteria on Tuesday, March 2. The Department of Public Health is preparing an amended health order and additional directives outlining allowable activities so the city can open as quickly as possible when the new tier reassignment takes effect which, under state rules, is the next day, Wednesday, March 3.
The eased outdoor youth sports guidelines for San Francisco largely align with the state’s, with some additional safety precautions.
Under the new health order, outdoor moderate-contact sports such as such as baseball, softball, field hockey, gymnastics, cheerleading and girls or women’s lacrosse will be permitted with face coverings required at all times except when participants are playing in a competition and easily able to maintain at least six-feet apart from other participants and staff.
The order will also include outdoor high-contact sports permitted in the orange tier, including football, basketball, soccer, rugby, crew and boys’ lacrosse with face coverings worn by participants, coaches and staff at all times.
Capacity for both moderate and high-contact activities is generally limited to stable cohorts of up to 25 youth. No more than 25 players on each team can participate, including any players who are on the sidelines, with limited exceptions.READ MORE: UPDATE: Early Morning Crash Shuts Down Lanes On San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
Under the updated order, youth may participate in only one outdoor sports team cohort at a time. Programs for outdoor moderate or high-contact sports must obtain the written informed consent from the parents or guardians of all youth participants. Spectators will be limited to parents or guardians as allowed under state guidance. Snacks and post-game snacks are not allowed. No indoor sports will be permitted while San Francisco remains in the red tier.
In order to speed the process of organized sports returning to available spaces as soon as possible, Rec and Park has launched a field allocation program in partnership with local youth sports leagues.
Rec and Park’s “Let the Kids Play” program will give young residents a fast track back to sports by providing field space to leagues offering a seven-week spring season for soccer, baseball, softball, flag football and lacrosse. The planned “mini-season” will start April 10 and run up to Memorial Day.
Participants and coaches will be required to follow all precautions outlined in the updated health order. More information on Let the Kids Play can be found on the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department website.
A limited number adult sports leagues will also be allowed to resume with practices beginning April 5 and running through nine weeks. Adult leagues will generally be subject to the same safety protocols that apply to outdoor youth sports. More information is available on the SF Rec and Park website.MORE NEWS: 'Highway Slingshot Shooter' Fires Ball Bearings at Windows Along San Jose's Guadalupe Freeway
“Kids have waited a long time to be allowed to play league sports. Since we own most of the City’s athletic fields, we are going to make sure they don’t wait a moment longer than necessary,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg in the issued press release. “We are thrilled to have them back on our fields. Playing outdoors provides crucial health benefits for youth, from relieving stress to promoting cooperation to sharpening problem solving skills.”