Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza
Lower and moderate-risk youth play on permitted City fields will resume Tuesday, Sept. 15, Mayor de Blasio announced.
By Forum Staff
The City Parks Department can resume permitting its athletic fields across the five boroughs for outdoor youth sports, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
Lower and moderate-risk youth play on permitted fields will resume Tuesday, Sept. 15, Hizzoner added.
“Our children have been through so much this year and have been yearning for more outdoor play,” de Blasio said. “Thankfully we’re continuing to see improvement in beating back this disease, and can safely permit youth sports this fall. We’ll continue to monitor our progress and put health and safety first.”
City athletic fields have been opened for first come, first served, socially distanced play throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Now, youth sports leagues will be issued permits for organized outdoor play. Permitted sports will include baseball, softball and soccer. Indoor sports, including swimming, will not be permitted. Leagues must enforce the following regulations:
- Face coverings must be worn by all coaches, staff, spectators, and players on the sidelines; players are encouraged to wear while playing if possible
- Social distancing must always be practiced by all when not active in game play
- Spectators must be limited to two per player
- All must leave the field post game, there shall be no congregating
According to the administration, Parks will monitor league activities; if a team accumulates three violations, Parks will revoke that league’s permits.
“Our city’s sports leagues, parents, youth, and elected officials have been asking for guidance for when permitting will restart since the beginning of summer, so this is great news for those leagues who have been sitting on the sidelines for too long. Our youth leagues have been hit particularly hard by the lack outdoor field access, and with proper safety precautions in place, this plan to restart permitting will help put our youth athletes on a path toward normalcy,” said City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), chairman of the Committee on Parks and Recreation.
“In a time when our mental and physical health has increased stressors, every opportunity we can provide our city’s youth with safe outdoor play is a benefit to us all. As we look to the start of the fall youth athletic season in our parks, I encourage all to follow the rules and do so safely,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
De Blasio also noted that if NYC’s percentage of positive COVID-19 tests exceeds3 percent positivity, permits will be suspended for all sports.
“Our children’s health is supported with outdoor play and physical exercise,” said Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi, MD. “But safety is paramount. Children will only be able to take the field if citywide transmission remains low, which is dependent on New Yorkers wearing face coverings, maintaining distance, practicing hand hygiene and staying home if ill.”
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) added, “Smart, socially distanced outdoor play will support the health and well-being of our children while bringing an important sense of normalcy and community to our neighborhoods and families this fall.”