illinois covid sports restrictions

What Are the Current Youth Sport Restrictions In Illinois?

COVID restrictions in certain states have begun to relax a little bit as more and more vaccines make it into people’s arms, but there are still precautions that should be taken. Youth sports as well as adult recreational sports were completely paused at the start of the pandemic, but as we learn more about how the virus spreads and what we can do to mitigate that spread, some sports have been able to resume. As Illinois holds within Phase 4 of the reopening plan, almost all sports are able to resume, but some of the higher risk sports still have restrictions that participants and staff must follow in order to assure the safety of everyone involved.

Illinois Sports COVID Risk Factor

Illinois has broken down the various sporting events into three levels of risk. These levels of risk are determined by the physical interaction of the players due to the nature of the sport they are playing. For all of these sports, regardless of the risk factor, all participants should wear a properly fitting face mask that covers both he nose and mouth at all times. This includes while playing and while on the bench.

Higher Risk Sports COVID Restrictions

Basketball, Boxing, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse (contact), Martial Arts, Ruby, and Wrestling. Since the sports above fall into the higher risk category there are a few other restrictions placed upon these in addition to wearing a mask at all times. These sports are limited to only intra-conference or intra-EMS-region play/meets. They may play against non-conference opponents, including opponents from other EMS regions, only if that opponent is located within 30-miles and also plays with these restrictions.

Moderate Risk Sports COVID Restrictions

Flag football (or 7v7 football), Futsal, Lacrosse (non-contact), Paintball, Racquetball, Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, Water Polo, Wheelchair Basketball. In Illinois, these sports fall into the moderate risk category, but still have restrictions placed upon them. For indoor sports in this risk level, the same restrictions are in place as with the higher risk sports. But for sports in this risk level that are played outdoors, they are allowed to have tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, out-of-state play, and championship games. If a team is playing out of state, the teams should avoid travel to areas of higher risk. For sports like water polo, that take place in the water, wearing a mask may be dangerous to those participating.

Lower Risk Sports COVID Restrictions

Archery, Badminton, Baseball, Bass Fishing, Bowling, Climbing, Competitive Cheer, Competitive Dance, Crew, Cross Country, Cycling, Disc Golf, Fencing, Gymnastics, Horseback Riding, Ice Skating, Ropes Courses, Sailing, Canoeing, Kayaking, Scholastic Golf, Sideline Spirit, Skateboarding, Softball, Skiing, Swimming/Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Trap Shooting, and Weightlifting. In Illinois, these sports are deemed to have the lowest risk factor, but that doesn’t mean there is no risk, so masks are still required whenever possible, and when being within 6-feet of another person. These sports have the same restrictions as outdoor sports in the moderate risk category.

Individual Sports COVID Restrictions in Illinois

In addition, the restrictions placed on the sports above, there are other guidelines put in place to help keep everyone safe while playing certain individual sports. You can click here to review the guidelines for individual sports, but the main idea is to wear masks, maintain 6 feet whenever possible, and sanitize equipment after individual use. Playing sports is an essential part to a lot of people’s lives. It helps keep us healthy, it promotes exercise, it allows us to be social, and it allows us to feel a sense of normalcy. By allowing kids and adults to get back out on the field, back on the track, or back in the pool, it can help them regain that feeling of normal, even though we’re still not through the pandemic yet. Mental health, as well as physical health, are an integral part of maintaining our overall health, and with those at risk during the pandemic, it’s important that we start allowing people to get back out there and feel good about themselves again. Safely of course. Safety is still the number one goal. Even though COVID vaccines are rolling out across the country, and Illinois is doing a good job of getting the most at-risk people vaccinated, it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet and can go back to normal. There are people out there that are immunocompromised, or have other health issues, that may not allow them to receive the vaccine, so it’s important that before we move back to a full reopening, that we reach heard immunity to help ensure those that need protection, but can’t receive it, are protected the best they can be. As long as these guidelines and restrictions are adhered to, then the state should continue to be able to offer these types of sports safely and responsibly for kids and adults.
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