By: Mike Glesinger
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced Monday the easing of restrictions regarding baseball and softball practices and games for this summer.
The Directed Health Measure (DHM) currently in effect, probhibits all team sports until May 31st due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting June 1st organized team practices for baseball and softball may begin unless circumstances dictate a change in date. Starting June 18th, baseball and softball games may begin with enhanced physical distancing measures in place for the safety of athletes, coaches, and spectators. Governor Ricketts made the announcement during his daily coronaviris breifing.
Also starting June 1st...Schools are permitted to open weight rooms for use by all student-athletes as long as they follow the same guidelines as fitness centers/clubs, gymnasiums, health clubs, and health spas.
Department of Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt joined Gov. Ricketts to talk about the resumption of youth sports....Blomstedt said "We’re exploring what’s safe and what works best for team sports....
"As we restart baseball and softball, we expect to learn best practices for mitigating the spread of the virus that we can apply to other sports."
Listed below are the Youth Sports Reopening Guidelines, as posted on the Governor's official website.
The below guidelines lay out the planned reopening of certain youth sports. Additional guidelines for other sports will be provided as it is determined participation in those sports meet health and safety measures. Violation of these rules may mean a team is prohibited from practicing or playing games for the entire summer.
The below guidelines apply only to team sports. Individual sports such as golf and tennis (including doubles tennis) are not prohibited under any Directed Health Measure, however, participants must practice social distancing.
Month of May
No Organized Team Sports games for youth and adults.
No Team Organized Sports practices for youth and adults . 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 that sell memberships to provide such training are allowed to offer sports training as long as they follow the same guidelines as fitness centers/clubs, gymnasiums, health clubs, and health spas. No team organized training is allowed.
Schools are permitted to open weight rooms for use by all student athletes as long as they follow the same guidelines as fitness centers/clubs, gymnasiums, health clubs, and health spas.
Team Organized practices for baseball and softball may begin unless circumstances dictate a change in date.
Dugout use will not be allowed. Players items should be lined up against the fence at least six (6) feet apart.
Parents must remain in their cars or drop off and pick players up afterwards.
Players should use their own gloves, helmets and bats as much as possible.
Coaches are responsible for ensuring social distancing is maintained between players as much as possible.
This means additional spacing between players while playing catch, changing drills so that players remain spaced out, no congregating of players while waiting to bat.
Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume during and after practice. No shared drinking fountains or coolers.
Players must bring their own snacks to consume during and after practice.
No shared/communal snacks.
Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each practice.
Team organized practices for other sports may remain suspended
Baseball and softball games may begin unless circumstances dictate a change in date. Same guidelines apply as above for baseball and softball practices.
Use of dugouts is permitted during games 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 personal 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.
Players should use their own gloves, helmets, and bats as much as possible.
Fan attendance is limited to household members of the players on the team. No use of bleachers for fans. Fans must bring their own chairs or stand. Fans should keep six (6) feet of social distancing between different household units. No fan seating or standing is allowed in the area from behind home plate to six (6) feet past the far end of each dugout.
Teams to play next must be provided designated areas for player warmups that provide for necessary social distancing.
Post game handshakes or interaction between teams are prohibited.
When games end, the leaving team must sanitize the dugout area. No post game talks at the field are permitted. Fans and players must leave the playing area and return to their cars immediately after the game.
The team to play next must remain in their designated warm up area until the prior team has finished sanitizing and is completely out of the dugout.
Fans for upcoming games must remain in their cars during player warm ups. They will be permitted to come to the field once the team they are there to watch enters the dugout area.
Restrooms must be cleaned and sanitized regularly while players and fans are present. Markings should be placed on the ground to ensure individuals waiting to use the restroom are spaced six (6) feet apart.
Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume during and after practices and games.
No shared drinking fountains or coolers.
Players must bring their own snacks to consume during and after practice/games. No shared/communal snacks.
Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each practice and game.
Concessions stands are not allowed to be open.
Team organized practices and games for other sports may remain suspended.