Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed an order Wednesday evening that further elaborates on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Tuesday announcement that all organized sports will be able to move forward.
“Our goal is to focus on the student and to focus on the school and provide them the best opportunity we can so that young person can participate,” DeWine said Tuesday. “No one can guess what the future’s going to be. We can’t guess, frankly, what the situation is going to be or how far into the season we’ll be able to get — if we can get all the way into the season, we certainly hope right now — nor can we predict if things will be better when it would come time to play these sports in the spring, but this order simply allows sports to move forward.”
Below are highlights from the order:
* The order affects all organized sports including youth, collegiate, amateur, club and professional sports — all of which the order permits to practice and compete.
* Athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and officials must conduct symptom assessments before each practice and game. Those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — including but not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea — must stay home.
* Spectators should conduct daily symptom assessments and stay home if they begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
* Athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, officials, volunteers and spectators must not congregate before or after practices and games.
* Athletes, staff, volunteers and spectators must maintain physical distancing, wear a cloth face coverings, and practice frequent hand-washing.
Spectators should wear a face coverings at all times.
Venues should provide hand-sanitizing stations for spectators and athletes and ensure high-touch surfaces are sanitized.
Those exempt from wearing face coverings: those under the age of 10; those with medical conditions, mental health conditions, or disabilities for which a mask is not recommended; those communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or who has another disability where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication; those who are seated and actively consuming food or beverage; and those actively participating in broadcast communications.
Coaches and officials are not required to wear face coverings during games so they may use whistles.
* Athletes should wear face coverings at all times except while on the field or court of play, especially while in spaces such as locker rooms.
* Coaches and participants should review CPR and defibrillator protocols, which can save athletes with cardiac arrest related to high-intensity exercise after recovery from myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, due to COVID-19.
* Spectators should sit with members of their family or household. Individuals and family and household groups should maintain a six-foot distance in all directions from others.
* Athletes, coaches and officials must not contact each other physically, which means team huddles and high-fives are not permitted.
* Athletes should not share equipment or personal items.
* Those who test positive for COVID-19 must undergo a professional medical exam before resuming participation in practices and games. A team, school or club must notify all athletes, parents and guardians of the affected team of a positive test.
* Spectators will be limited, in outdoor venues, to the lesser of 1,500 spectators or 15 percent of the venue’s seating capacity, and in indoor venues, to the lesser of 300 spectators or 15 percent of the venue’s seating capacity.
* Himes urged the parents, guardians, grandparents, siblings and other loved ones of athletes, coaches and volunteers who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to stay home as much as possible.
Find the full document, which details all of the requirements for schools and venues during sporting events, at governor.ohio.gov.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.