BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City officials announced Wednesday that some youth fall sports will return and they will begin to permit for private events at parks as the city is reporting a downward trend for the coronavirus.
Mayor Jack Young said, although the COVID-19 numbers are trending downward, the virus is not gone and people need to continue to follow protocols to stay safe.
As of Wednesday, the city has reported a total of 15,085 coronavirus cases and 458 deaths.
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Athletic permits will be allowed for fall sports, with the exception of football, rugby and wrestling.
“Our goal is to make sure Baltimore’s youth are safe and engaged,” said City Parks and Recreations Director Reginald Moore.
However, in order to maintain a safe environment, city officials have several requirements:
- All players and coaches must wear masks at all times during practice and competition.
- Only two spectators will be allowed per participant and they must social distance.
- There also has to be a written plan for each one of the fall organizations before they will get a permit for how they will follow CDC protocols about coronavirus.
“In order for us to continue fall sports, it will take all of us. It will take our league organizers, our parents and our coaches to abide by these rules so that we can continue to make sure that we trend downward and that we don’t become part of a problem with this pandemic again,” Moore said.
As for permits for private events, the city will only allow 25% capacity, with a maximum of 63 participants per event.
Athletes, coaches, parents and staff said they’re all excited about being able to play fall sports this year.
“I’ve been kinda going crazy,” 9-year-old Blake Williams told WJZ. “I miss my friends, I miss competing.”
Mike Walters, of the YMCA of Central Maryland, said that allowing fall sports will help relieve anxiety and stress that families and kids have been feeling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Coaches said now their work begins.
“When we get back out there on the field, these are the protocols we need to follow. We have to be smart about it, COVID hasn’t gone anywhere,” Kweisi Ehoize, of the Baltimore Terps Youth Sports League, said.