COHASSET — Fire Chief Robert Silvia, Health Agent Pamela Fahey and the Town of Cohasset would like to share the guidelines that have been established by the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs relating to youth sports activities, which will be modified as a result of ongoing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has decided to divide youth sports into three categories based on the risk of COVID-19 transmission from how the sport is traditionally played. The three levels of risk are:
Low Risk: Sports that can be done individually, socially distant, or with no physical contact.
Examples include tennis, pickleball, swimming, catch, disc golf, golf, individual biking, surfing, horseback riding, individual sailing, fishing, hunting, motor sports, no contact exercise classes, gymnastics, cross country and individual crew.
Moderate Risk: Sports that involve limited proximity or accidental physical contact.
Examples include baseball, softball, crew, sailing, track and field, running clubs, team swimming, volleyball, dance class, fencing, field hockey, girls’ lacrosse and soccer.
High Risk: Sports that have deliberate close contact between participants and a high probability that respiratory particles could be transmitted between participants.
Examples include football, wrestling, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, ice-hockey, competitive cheer, martial arts, Ultimate Frisbee, boxing and pair figure skating.
Prior health and safety standards relating to youth sports activities were amended on Aug. 13 (and became effective Aug. 17), making them more restrictive than the ones that were issued in July. These regulations cover which sports and recreational activities are allowed, facial covering requirements, and additional safety protocols for social distancing, hygiene, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting.
Town of Cohasset youth sports groups have been submitting COVID safety plans to ensure compliance with the new state-issued guidance. Cohasset Youth Baseball & Softball Association (CYBSA) submitted a plan in late spring/early summer and has been able to safely play this summer with modifications incorporating social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Cohasset Soccer Club has finalized their safety plan and will begin their fall season shortly.
“The Cohasset youth sports groups have been great community partners in ensuring that group sports are being played safely,” Fahey said. “It is not always easy to educate coaches, players and parents of the necessary modifications, but leadership members from both the Town and its youth sports agencies have stepped up to the challenge.”
The Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs requires that masks be worn by all participants and spectators except for those playing high aerobic exercises such as swimming, water polo or other sports in the water; when distancing of 6 feet or more is possible between participants; and individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition/disability.
New rules for spectators have been implemented as well. For indoor competitions and tournaments, only one spectator per participant is allowed and they must wear a face covering and practice social distancing at all times. For outdoor competitions and tournaments, only 50 spectators are allowed and they must wear a face covering and practice social distancing at all times.
To read the Commonwealth’s revised order regulating gatherings in Massachusetts, click here.
For a full list of youth sport recommendations, decisions and safety standards, click here. To view the Town of Cohasset’s COVID-19 news and information website, click here.