Gov. Ned Lamont announced a pause on club and other team sports until Jan. 19 on Thursday, as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Connecticut. The new rules go into effect starting Monday.
So, what exactly does the pause mean? The Department of Economic and Community Development issued clarity on the guidelines on Friday.
The pause affects all sporting activities, from youth leagues, high school and prep schools and adult leagues. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the governing body of high school sports, had previously postponed all winter sports to Jan. 19. The state defines “team” as a group of four or more people engaged in athletic activities on a field, court or rink.
College and professional sports teams are not subject to the pause, though recreational or club sports hosted by colleges are also prohibited.
“At least the colleges and the professionals, they can operate within a bubble,” Lamont said. “And that means, UConn basketball, they’re eating, taking classes and doing sports together, unlike high school, where you go back to school at the end of the day or the next day. It’s a very different infection ratio.”
Participating in high-risk sports, which include full-contact football, wrestling and boys lacrosse, is prohibited during the pause. Team scrimmages, camps, competitions and tournaments — including interscholastic pick-up games and informal activities — are also sidelined. All out-of-state athletic activities are prohibited, including everything from conditioning to tournaments. Teams from outside of the state are also barred from participating in athletics in Connecticut.
“That’s it in terms of club sports as well,” Lamont said on Thursday. “They’re going to be not allowed to reopen until Jan. 19 as well. I think you understand for the same reason, perhaps a younger demographic. But again, an effort to keep those schools open for as long as we can do it safely.”
Teams are not able to break into smaller factors to practice or participate in an athletic activity at the same place. The DECD used the example of a team of 20 athletes breaking into smaller groups of four or fewer.
Still allowed are individual and small group training of four people or fewer, and individual moderate-to-low risk sports, also in groups or four of fewer. Low risk sports include cross country, golf and tennis, while moderate-risk sports include basketball, hockey and soccer. Gyms and fitness centers remain open, though masks are required and a 6-foot distance must be kept between patrons.
Fitness classes, yoga, dance and martial art studios will stay open, too, at 25% capacity, with masks required.
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