Recreational athletes have been forced to put a hold on their preferred sports since the pandemic began last spring. Today, these athletes will finally be able to play their sports again. 

Recreational sports are allowed to resume with modifications on Friday, Feb. 26 according to the California Health Department. 

This applies to all youth and adult sports, including school community programs, private clubs and leagues. 

The updated guidance for recreational sports includes requirements such as face coverings for all observers and coaches, distancing between non-household members, limitations on spectators and more, according to a press release. 

Since San Luis Obispo is in the purple tier, other requirements must also be followed because this is a relatively restrictive tier, according to the press release. These requirements include weekly testing for players and coaches in certain high-risk sports, like football, rugby and water polo. This is because players are likely to be unmasked, with close, face-to-face contact over a long period of time. 

Outdoor moderate-contact sports such as baseball, cheerleading, volleyball, gymnastics and badminton, can be played without the testing requirement.  

“Youth sports are important to our children’s physical and mental health, and our public health approach has worked to balance those benefits against COVID-19 risks,” Dr. Tomas Argon, California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer wrote in the press release. 

This change is possible because San Luis Obispo’s case rate dropped below 14 cases per 100,000 people per day, which is California’s threshold for allowing these activities to return. 

“We are seeing a dramatic decrease in the cases that we are having,” Dr. Penny Borenstein said in a county press briefing. 

Cal Poly athletics, with approval from county Public Health, has been holding practices since last summer and will hold fanless competitions in late November, according to Director of Media Relations Matt Lazier.

Lazier said that the university is not sure how these new guidelines for recreational sports will directly affect Cal Poly. Lazier said meetings and discussions will be happening in the next few days. 

“This is still under discussion with the university’s Emergency Operations Center, and it’s not yet clear what additional impacts the new guidance might have,” Lazier said. 

Club sports have been operating virtually, meaning that they have not been able to meet in person or travel since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Ryan Maier, a junior computer engineer and club soccer player, said he hopes club sports will open back up again soon. 

“I know it’s not covid safe right now, that would have to improve first, ” Ryan Maier said. “But once that happens and club sports open back up I would be very happy about that.”

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