School and youth sports have been on hold since last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Victorio | Special to S.F. Examiner)

School and youth sports have been on hold since last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Victorio | Special to S.F. Examiner)

State allows outdoor youth sports to resume statewide amid declining Covid-19 cases

San Francisco among counties with case loads low enough to qualify

By Eli Walsh

Bay City News Foundation

Outdoor youth sports will soon be allowed to resume in California counties that meet a threshold for coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday.

Outdoor sports like football and baseball will be allowed to resume as early as next Friday, Newsom said during a briefing in Alameda County.

While indoor sports competitions are still prohibited, outdoor youth sports will be allowed in counties that have case rates of fewer than 14 new cases per day per 100,000 residents.

As of Friday, 27 counties across the state met that threshold, including Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties.

“The fact that kids are not even in school and don’t even have the ability to organize around sports, it’s impacting them in profound and significant and, in many cases, deleterious ways,” Newsom said.

Let Them Play CA, a group of youth sports coaches and student athletes across the state that have advocated for sports to resume, lauded Newsom and state legislators for lifting the ban on outdoor sports.

“From the moment the governor called us to say he would work with us to help get sports back for kids, it has been a methodical march to get to this wonderful place,” Let Them Play CA said in a joint statement with the Golden State High School Football Coaches Community.

“It has not been easy; there were many bumps along the way, but good people kept working together to create a positive outcome for our most ‘essential business’- our kids.”

Weekly testing will be required for football, rugby and water polo players above the age of 13 in counties with a case rate between 7 and 14 per 100,000 people. Other outdoor sports, like baseball, cheerleading and softball can be played without testing, according to the release.

Newsom said the state will cover the cost of testing for high school sports.

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