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Central Coast youth sports teams welcome back more spectators under new guidelines

high school football sports
Posted at 7:55 PM, Apr 11, 2021

The California Department of Public Health is now reclassifying youth sports in the same category as outdoor performances and gatherings.

There are some specific restrictions however, like requiring athletes and coaches to get tested at least once a week and limiting the amount of spectators. Athletes are also only allowed to compete against other in-state teams.

“We do a temperature check for every child upon arrival before they enter the field," said Fred Bayat, the President of Goleta South Little League. "If they have any fever or any kind of illness symptoms, we have to send them home. And, if there is a reported case of COVID they have to quarantine.”

“So my kids and coaches have to spit in a test tube anywhere from one to four times per week depending on how many games we play. We’re required to do weekly testing as well as 24 to 48 hours before game time," explained Ashley Coelho, the Athletic Director at Santa Ynez High.

Coelho says there are other measures taken as well.

“If we were wearing masks and someone were to test positive, we now record everything. We record all of our indoor practices so that way we can contact trace within our program," Coelho said.

While the state provides guidelines, each school system is different depending on the county.

“We do [weekly COVID-19 testing] for the high contact sports and for all of the indoor sports," explained Marci Beddall, the Athletic Director at San Luis Obispo High. "We have kind of a weekly schedule and right now actually, starting Monday, the county is actually going to start coming here to campus and testing the kids for us. Even if we have multiple games a week, we just test once a week.”

The state says spectators need to be immediate family members and that indoor spectators can only be there for supervision. Both athletic directors say that they are limiting out spectators to four people per athlete and coach. For indoor and pool related sports ,only two spectators are permitted.

On April 15th, there will be more leeway for indoor and outdoor gatherings.

According to the Blue Print for a Safer Economy, updated on April 2nd, for sports and live performances in the purple tier, the gatherings can only be outside and with fewer than a hundred people. In the red through yellow tiers, there are capacity limits and only in-state visitors for sports and live performances.

In the red tier, there will be a maximum capacity of 20%, 33% for the orange, and 67% for the yellow tier.