Relief is on the way for children and their parents, with organized team sports allowed to reopen outdoors. To promote safety, there’ll be some changes. And in some cases, even in the way the game is played.
There are two key dates for reopening outdoor youth sports. On June 19, kids will be allowed to practice with no more than 30 players. On July 3, they will be allowed to play actual games with up to 100 people per gathering.
i9 Sports Honolulu says having kids play organized sports again is a much needed outlet that’s been missing for nearly three months.
“And really compete. I think that kids are just waiting to get out there in whatever sport it might be, whether it’s football or baseball or soccer or basketball. Not just with our organization but any organization,” said Roger Dequina, executive director of i9 Sports in Honolulu.
He says the organization has put together safety measures to minimize contact and touch points. In baseball, thumbs up will replace high fives. Kids will be asked to bring their own bats and helmets and not share them.
“Traditionally, we would supply a lot of those pieces of equipment to our members in order to participate. But of course in lieu of everything, we want to make sure that they’re safe,” said Dequina.
Since indoor basketball is not yet allowed, he’s looking at playing games outdoors. Kids will be asked to wash their hands before the game, at halftime, and after the game. Kids will also stick to guarding a specific player throughout the whole game.
“You’re not gonna be doing a lot of switching, you’re not doing a lot of double teaming. You’re really gonna stick to your man and your man only, and that would kind of limit the exposure to some of the other kids out there,” said Dequina.
Soccer and baseball games can attract more than 100 people with so many families watching. So Dequina says he will be asking for only one parent to bring each child to the game. Parents and children will also be asked to wear masks while watching at the sidelines.
On Kauai, the mayor has allowed organized youth sports outdoors effective immediately. Leagues and clubs are required to submit health and safety guidelines which will be reviewed by the county before issuing a permit.