Massachusetts Defines Low, Moderate, & High-Risk Sports in COVID-19 Era, and Sets Limitations For Each Level

BOSTON – Under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Phase III, Step 1 re-opening plan some sports and recreational activities resumed on Monday, July 6.

The Commonwealth also placed sports into categories of low risk, moderate risk, and high risk.

“The ability to participate in sports and recreation activities is determined by a combination of (1) risk of
transmission of COVID-19 inherent in the sport or recreation activity itself and (2) level of risk associated
with the “Type of Play,” said the state.

Under the state’s guidelines, sports and activities included in the Lower Risk category can participate in Level 1, 2, 3, 4 type
of play now (July 6).

Sports and activities included in the Moderate Risk category can participate in Level 1, 2 and 3 type of play, now

Sports and activities included in the Higher Risk category can participate in Level 1 type of play only now.

Lower Risk sports and recreation activities are characterized by sports or activities that can be done with social distancing or sports or activities that can be done individually.

LOW-RISK sports examples: Batting cages, tennis, pickleball, swimming, catch, disc golf, golf, individual biking, surfing,
horseback riding, individual sailing, fishing, hunting, motor sports, yoga & no contact exercise classes, gymnastics

Moderate Risk sports and recreation activities are characterized by sports or activities that involve intermittent contact, but with protective equipment or mitigating measures in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between
participants (e.g., wearing masks, modifying play)

MODERATE-RISK sports includes: baseball, softball, crew/sailing (2-3 people in a boat), track and field, cross country, running
clubs, team swimming, volleyball, dance class, fencing, field hockey, no-contact lacrosse

Higher Risk sports and recreation activities are characterized by sports that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.

HIGH-RISK sports examples include: football, wrestling, soccer, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, ice-hockey, competitive cheer, martial
arts, crew/sailing (more than 3 people in a boat), ultimate frisbee.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also defined four levels of play under the Phase III re-opening plan. The yypes of play are defined by level from least to greatest risk.

Level 1: Individual or socially distanced group activities (no-contact workouts, aerobic conditioning, individual skill work, and drills)

Level 2: Competitive Practices (Intra-team/group games, contact drills and scrimmages)

Level 3: Competitions (Inter-team games, meets, matches, races, etc.)

Level 4: Tournaments (Outdoor only)

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts defined a “competition as multiple participants or two teams competing against one another in a single contest. A competition includes, inter-team games, matches, shows, meets, and races.”

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts defined a tournament is a formal contest that consists of multiple games between multiple persons or teams, that might include multiple stages, played in a condensed period of time, such as over the course of a
single day or multiple days in a row.”

In Phase III, Step 1, which began on July 6, only outdoor Tournaments are allowed for Lower Risk Sports.

Competition and Tournament Organizers must adhere to the following:

Outdoor Competitions & Tournaments:

  • No more than 25 players on any surface/playing areas for team/group sports.
  • No more than 100 people including participants, players, coaches, volunteers, spectators in the aggregate in, on, or surrounding any surface/playing area or start/finish lines at any one time, provided that there is adequate space for all participants, players, coaches, volunteers and spectators to maintain at least six feet social distancing, recognizing that for some moderate risk sports intermittent contact may occur for players.
  • Spectators must wear facial coverings and maintain six feet of social distance at all times.
  • For competitions and tournaments in the water, the aforementioned limitation applies to any applicable activities on land.
  • No spectators allowed for sports and activities played by individuals 18 years and older.

Indoor Competition Capacity:

  • No more than 25 players on any surface/playing areas for team/group sports.
  • No spectators allowed for indoor competitions for sports and activities played by individuals 18 years and older.
  • If an indoor facility has a chaperone or spectator viewing area which allows for at least six feet social distancing between spectators and the presence of spectators plus players/coaches as well as staff does not cause the facility to exceed more than 40% of the maximum occupancy for the indoor facility, then 1 spectator per player under 18 years old are allowed to attend.
  • Spectators must wear facial coverings and maintain six feet of social distance at all times.
  • For facilities with multiple fields, surfaces, courts, organizers should set Competition and Tournament schedules with a buffer to prevent the overlap of participants and to allow for disinfection of equipment and cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, if necessary.
  • Games should end in a draw if time expires.

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