Sports and recreational activities will be allowed during the second and third phases of the reopening of Massachusetts. (PHOTO COURTESY: VisualHunt.com)
The thought of sports and recreational activities taking place in Massachusetts seems more realistic these days as our state continues to slowly reopen.
As we learned yesterday, the second phase of the state’s reopening plan, which is currently scheduled for Monday, June 8, would allow amateur, adult, and youth sports leagues to return to the field. But once our state advances to the third phase – as of now, it would begin Monday, June 29 – more options would become available, including the use of fitness centers and health clubs.
To help everyone understand how sports and recreational activities can be reintroduced to everyone over the next few weeks, we have compiled a list of what will be reopening, beginning in phase two.
What to expect in Phase Two (Caution):
Professional sports teams can begin practicing while training programs can resume.
Sports camps can begin – most likely, they will start later this month once the current school year concludes.
Golf facilities, including outdoor driving ranges, can reopen. Additionally, mini-golf would be allowed during the second phase.
Adult, amateur, and youth sports can begin. Adult sports must be played outdoors while youth sports could occur indoors under supervision.
Additional outdoor recreational facilities that can reopen in the second phase include pools, playgrounds, spray decks, go-karts, batting cages, and climbing walls.
What to expect in Phase Three (Vigilant):
Overnight camps – if there are sleepaway athletic camps, they would be permitted during this phase.
Indoor recreational and athletic facilities can reopen, but these are not limited to youth programs, though.
Additional indoor activities can occur, including batting cages, driving ranges, go-karts, bowling alleys, arcades, laser tag, roller skating rinks, trampolines, and rock climbing.
Fitness centers and health clubs can reopen, including cardio, weight rooms, locker rooms, and facilities.
Fitness studios that offer yoga, barre, cross-fit, spin classes, and general fitness studios.
Fitness centers can also allow their customers to use both their locker rooms and shower rooms, as well as their indoor common areas, indoor swimming pools, indoor racquet courts, and gymnasiums.
In phase four – the ew normal – saunas, hot-tubs, and steam rooms at health clubs will be allowed.
For more information on what else will be allowed to reopen in the state of Massachusetts, CLICK HERE.
“As part of phase two, outdoor athletic facilities can be open for organized youth and adult sports activities in accordance with the guidance. Games, scrimmages, and tournaments are currently not permitted for any organized sports activities and contact sports must limit activities to no contact drills and practices.”
Wednesday’s announcement, along with the executive order Gov. Baker outlined earlier this week should be viewed as a positive step – a small one, of course – with restarting athletic events. It does not mean, however, that games and events can resume as they once did a few months ago.
According to Reopening Massachusetts in Phases, sports, recreation, and outdoor activities could begin as early as next Monday, May 25. (PHOTO COURTESY: VisualHunt.com)
By Matt Noonan
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito unveiled the state’s “Reopening Massachusetts” plan on Monday, which included the phases for sports, recreation, and outdoor activities.
According to the report, beaches, parks, and some athletic fields and courts could open as soon as next Monday, May 25. But when those places do open, the state will ask everyone to abide by the social guidance procedures, which includes covering your face with a mask, washing hands, social distancing, and being vigilant of their respective symptoms.
The second phase for recreation and outdoor activities, which is titled “caution,” would allow campgrounds, playgrounds, spray decks, public and community pools, along with all athletic fields and courts with guidelines. Youth sports could occur during this phase but in a limited fashion.
The third phase – titled “vigilant” – would allow more activities and services to take place, along with youth sporting events and games, as well as tournaments with limited crowd sizes. And the fourth and final phase – the “new normal” – would let all activities take place.
Gyms and fitness facilities can open in the third phase with restrictions and some capacities.
The NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel, which is led by Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, shared its “Resocializiation in Sports” plan which considers multiple factors with getting student-athletes back on the field from federal recommendations to data and science to input from experts that “puts the health, safety, and well-being of student-athletes and the needs of the membership first.”
“It is also important to take into consideration that there will not be a quick, single day of re-emergence into society,” Hainline said in this afternoon’s release, which can be found on NCAA.org.
“We will re-emerge in a manner that recognizes COVID-19 will be around until there is an effective vaccine, treatment or both. That is why resocialization should be rolled out in a phased way that helps assure sustained low infection spread, as well as aids in the ability to quickly diagnose and isolate new cases.”
As Hainline noted and outlined in the nine-step process, for colleges and universities to be successful with getting their teams and student-athletes back on the field, they must have plans in place for testing, temperature checking, contact tracing, and isolating. Schools would also need an ample amount of protective equipment.
Dan Dutcher, who is the vice president of NCAA Division III, provided some insight into this plan on a brand new “Noontime Nation” Podcast, which can be heard on both iTunes and Spotify.
In a recent interview with the New York Times regarding if and when sports can return safely, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the nation’s leading expert in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), believes it might be best if our country goes “without sports for this season.” But perhaps not every sport, though.
Safety will certainly be the priority of many leagues going forward, including the various professional organizations that have and continue to float various plans or ideas of starting-up or resuming play later this year in various locations across the country. Additionally, safety will be a major concern for colleges and high schools, both local and national institutions, pending schools are open this fall.
When it comes to college or high school contests, Fauci believes it would be best for gymnasiums and stadiums to admit fewer fans than normal so they can be spread out instead of lumped together. But before non-professional leagues take the field or admit fans to upcoming games, Fauci believes it is best for everyone to wait for the infection rate to lower so if something were to happen “you can stop it from turning into an outbreak.”
As of this afternoon, some fall sports schedules have been released or published, but it is unknown if those games will be played, canceled, or postponed.