Riverside County not yet lifting hold on recreational team sports, including youth sports

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The California Department of Public Health has determined that recreational team sports are still not permitted during the current phase of the states reopening plans. Valley News/JP Ranieri photo

Individual fitness may continue with modifications

With stay-at-home orders being lifted around the country and states rolling out reopening plans, youth sports leagues and organizers are grappling with when and how to return to play without the same financial resources and, in many cases, centralized guidance, much like their professional counterparts. As Riverside County continues to safely reopen additional activities and sectors of the economy, the return of youth sports has been on the minds of many parents and young athletes countywide.

Because many youth sports leagues do not fall under a national governing body, decisions about returning to play will likely be based on local and state recommendations. It might be safer for a recreational baseball league in one state to return in July, while another state must wait until August. Some local recreational leagues, like the Murrieta Valley Girls Softball Association and the Murrieta Jr. All-American Youth Football and Cheer program have released signup options for their upcoming fall seasons, with statements about being ready when Riverside County Officials release the current hold on starting up. Messages to their communities also involve implementing new policies and procedures that will ensure the health and safety of their members and families.

Ryan Demmer, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, said in a recent news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it is still unclear how coronavirus affects children.

“Though they are not being hospitalized or dying at the same rates as other segments of the population, they are not immune,” he said.

There are questions about transmissibility and asymptomatic carriage, for example. How likely are children to spread COVID-19 between themselves? And how likely are they to transmit it to their siblings or parents, even with mild or no symptoms?

Currently, the California Department of Public Health has determined that no recreational team sports are permitted, and that the fitness guidance used for gyms and other fitness facilities is not for use for team sports activities. Youth and recreational team sports are currently designated as part of Stage 3 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan. Riverside County remains in accelerated Stage 2 that has seen the return of restaurants, nail salons and gyms with necessary health protocols and modifications.

Individual fitness guidance as provided by Riverside County and CDPH may be found at www.RivCoBizHelp.org. Find the most up-to-date information about recreational team sports at www.covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.