Gov. Ricketts provides updates on youth sports guidelines

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LINCOLN, Neb.- Monday Afternoon, Governor Pete Ricketts provided an update on upcoming guidelines for organized youth sports.

The guidelines apply only to team sports. Individual sports such as golf and tennis (including doubles tennis) are not prohibited under any Directed Health Measures, however, participants must still practice social distancing.

In May, no organized team sports games are allowed for youth and adults. No team organized sports practices are allowed, this prohibition includes any practice training or group exercise program organized by a coach of a sports team. Businesses and organizations that provide sports training and sell memberships to provide such training to be allowed to offer sports training as long as they follow the same guidelines as fitness gyms, health clubs and health spas. No team organized training is allowed.

In June, schools may be allowed to open weight rooms for use by all student-athletes as long as they follow gym guidelines. Team organized practices for baseball and softball may begin unless circumstances dictate a change. Dugout use is not allowed. Players’ items should be lined up against the fence at least six feet apart. Parents must remain in their cars or drop off/pick up players afterward. Players must use their equipment. Coaches are responsible for enforcing social distancing. Players must bring their beverages/snacks. Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each practice. Team organized practices for other sports will remain suspended.

"Those are sports that are generally more socially distant anyway." Gov. Ricketts said, "We want to take this a step at a time to see how we can roll this out and make it work."

On June 18, baseball and softball games may begin unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Games must follow the same guidelines as practices. The use of dugouts will be permitted during game use only. Bleachers located between the dugout and home plate should also be used to spread out players. Players should have designated spots to place their items. Coaches must designate an adult who is responsible for ensuring players are seated on the benches unless they are actively participating in the game.

"Fans will be limited at games to only household members," Gov. Ricketts said, "They have to bring their chairs or stand during the games and be a six-foot distance from everybody else."
Fans must bring their chairs or stands. Fans should keep six feet between different household units. No fan seating or standing is allowed in the area from behind the home plate to six feet past the far end of each dugout. Teams to play next must provide designated areas for player warm-ups. Post-game handshakes or interactions are prohibited. When games end, the leaving team must sanitize the dugout areas. Concession stands are not allowed to be opened. Other games will still be suspended.