COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Competition for contact and non-contact sports will be allowed to take place, given certain directives are followed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the Ohio Department of Health order during a statehouse briefing Tuesday.
Teams will be allowed to resume competition provided they follow the guidelines of the order, which include:
- Testing of all players, coaches, athletic trainers, support staff, and officials before traveling to and while at the competition
- Conduct daily symptom assessments.
- Athletic trainers must wear a face covering while attending to players.
- Coaches and officials are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when possible.
- Strict social distancing by players who are not actively engaged in practice or competition.
- Immediate isolation and medical care for someone who develops symptoms.
The order is temporary and is set to expire on July 15, Husted said.
“We hope to use this to inform our future decisions as it relates to our return to play,” Husted said. “This is temporary, it will be evaluated once we have more information as this goes through July 15.”
During this period, practices and open gyms with another team or club and inter-club/team play are also permitted so long as all teams involved agree to comply with the requirements set forth in the Director’s Order.
Later in the briefing, Husted said the DOH order was particularly drafted to allow for The Basketball Tournament, which is currently being held at Nationwide Arena. The last game of TBT is scheduled for July 14.
“It’s basically a one-week window that allows these things to occur,” he said. “In doing so, we hope to learn from what happens and how they do this to make sure that it can be done well and safely and we fully intend to get more guidance at the end of this on what we intend to do with sports because we have been working all on… to get this right as it relates to the actual competition and potential for spectators. This all has to come together as we’re looking at how we evolve with the numbers and evolve with the virus, how it’s spreading, and what we can learn on how the associations, the teams, and so forth are coming forward with their recommendations. This will be a week opportunity to learn how these operate and we will have new guidelines about what sports are going to look like in the future.”
The state is also going to start a public relations campaign called I Want A Season, which encourages athletes to show they are following state guidelines in order to prevent the spread of the virus and allow sports to have their seasons.
“All of us, particularly our athletes, need to help us slow the spread,” Husted said. “so we’re launching the #IWantASeason campaign today. We’ve been talking with a lot of professional, college, high school sports teams and athletes about helping to share this via social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat to tell your friends we’re all in this together. That you’re wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands because you want to have a season.”