COVID-19 Hotline Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. - Noon
314-615-2660

Missouri State DHSS Hotline 24/7  877-435-8411
Text STLOUISCOALERT to 67283

Adult Sports Guidelines

 

These guidelines, effective August 17, 2020, supersede and replace the July 29, 2020, Adult Sports Guidelines. In accordance with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s (“DPH”) Third Amended Order for Business and Individual Guidelines for Social Distancing and Re-Opening, dated July 29, 2020, effective July 31, 2020, (the “Order”) and as may be further amended, these guidelines may be replaced or modified by DPH based on new scientific information and local information including the trajectory of influenza-like illnesses, cases of COVID-19, and any other information deemed relevant to protect public health in St. Louis County.

 

Guiding principles

Playing sports with or against other individuals during this time holds an inherent risk that someone may be infected and, in turn, spread the virus to others in their household or community. Please consider this risk when participating in organized sports. Teams, clubs, leagues, and organizers must be familiar with recommendations from their national, state, and local, governing bodies regarding illness (including but not limited to COVID-19).

The information regarding SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 illness, is changing rapidly. As a result, guidance given nationally and in St. Louis County is subject to change. The guidelines provided in this document will be reviewed and updated based on new scientific information and local circumstances, and, therefore, may change periodically.

These guidelines are being updated at this time due to the high number of cases of COVID-19 in St. Louis County. Of particular concern is the significant increase in positive COVID-19 for adults age 20-29 and 30-39. These guidelines allow individual sports with no or low-frequency of contact to be played with some restrictions. Sports that involve more frequency of contact, but where that contact can be minimized with restrictions are also allowed to be played, including practices, intra-team competitions and scrimmages. Those sports with high-frequency contact, however, at this time have significant restrictions. No competitions or spectators are allowed because the evidence continues to show that congregation of groups of people where there is lot of person-to-person interaction spreads the virus.

Types of activities

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), the risk of COVID-19 spread can be different, depending on the type of activity. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in sports settings as follows:

  • Lowest risk: Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone, or with family members
  • Increasing risk: Team-based practice
  • More risk: Within-team competition
  • Even more risk: Full competition between teams from the same local geographic area
  • Highest risk: Full competition between teams from different geographic areas.

Types of sports

Sports are classified based on the level of contact between players, as low-frequency of contact, moderate-frequency of contact or high-frequency of contact.

  • High frequency of contact sports include basketball, boxing, tackle/flag/touch football, martial arts, rugby, water polo, and wrestling.
  • Moderate frequency of contact sports include baseball, cheerleading, crew/rowing, dance team, fencing, floor hockey, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, racquetball, soccer, softball, team handball, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball.
  • Low-frequency of contact sports include diving, extreme sports, gymnastics, rodeo, water skiing, adventure racing, bicycling, canoeing/kayaking, field events (high jump, pole vault, javelin, shot-put), golf, handball, horseback riding, skating (ice, in-line, roller), skateboarding, weight lifting, windsurfing, badminton, bodybuilding, bowling, golf, orienteering, fishing, riflery, rope jumping, running, sailing, scuba diving, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and track.

For sports or activities not included in the above categories that are similar in nature to such other sports or activities, please apply the category most closely associated with the sport or activity. If there is any question regarding the categorization of an activity, please contact the Department of Public Health to determine which category applies.

Application

The restrictions and requirements of these adult sports guidelines apply to all individuals age 19 or older.

  • All college sports are allowed if the activity’s governing body and conference governing body allow the sport to be played and provide specific recommendations for the division and players to follow.
  • All organized professional sporting events, including, but not limited to, minor league practices and games and professional team practices (as well as individual professional sports) are allowed if they comply with the following restrictions:
    • No spectators are permitted.
    • The owners or operators of all stadiums and other facilities accommodating or sponsoring semi-professional and professional sports must submit an operating plan for approval by DPH. No owner or operator of a stadium or facility may allow such use until DPH has approved the submitted plan and operations must proceed in accordance with amendments to said plan as required by DPH.

Restrictions and requirements

Effective August 17, 2020, the following restrictions and requirements apply to all high frequency of contact sports:

  • Team workouts and practices are allowed with restrictions.
  • Team contact drills are allowed, but only in groups of 20 or fewer athletes.
  • Two coaches are permitted in addition to the group of 20 or fewer athletes.
  • Each group of athletes, not to exceed 20 per group, must remain in a separate single space from another group of athletes at all times. Each group’s space must maintain at minimum 20 feet of barrier space from any other group. No person is allowed within the 20-foot barrier space. The barrier should be clearly marked by a wall, tape, or cones.
  • NO games or scrimmages are permitted.
  • NO tournaments, performances, competitions, or showcases are permitted.
  • Social distancing should be maintained as much as possible during practice.
  • The same individuals must remain in the same groups each day to limit exposure between groups.
  • Masks/face coverings MUST be worn whenever an individual is not doing vigorous physical activity. This includes before and after events and during screenings.
  • Coaches MUST wear masks/face coverings at all times.
  • Players and coaches should sanitize hands and equipment regularly.
  • All individuals, including coaches, must be screened every day.
  • No spectators are allowed.
  • No two teams should be in the same location at one time. If the same field, gym, or enclosed room will be used in the same day by more than one team, teams must allow sufficient time between sessions to clean the area. No team shall use a field, gym, or similar enclosed room on the same day another team has used any of those locations unless proper cleaning has occurred after the previous team’s use. This cleaning requirement shall also apply to groups of up to 20 athletes using the same single space as another group of up to 20 athletes even if those groups comprise one team.
  • All equipment (such as bats, sticks, helmets, sleds, etc.) must be disinfected between individual uses.

Effective August 17, 2020, the following restrictions and requirements apply to all moderate frequency of contact sports:

  • Team workouts and practices are allowed with restrictions.
  • Team contact drills are allowed but only in groups of 30 or fewer athletes.
  • Two coaches are permitted in addition to the group of 30 or fewer athletes.
  • Each group of athletes, not to exceed 30 per group, must remain in a separate single space from another group of athletes at all times. Each group’s space must maintain at minimum 20 feet of barrier space from any other group. No person is allowed within the 20-foot barrier space. The barrier should be clearly marked by a wall, tape, or cones.
  • Scrimmages are permitted.
  • NO games are permitted.
  • NO tournaments, performances, competitions, or showcases are permitted.
  • Social distancing should be maintained as much as possible during practice.
  • The same individuals must remain in the same groups each day to limit exposure between groups.
  • Cheerleading must NOT include stunting.
  • Masks/face coverings MUST be worn whenever an individual is not doing vigorous physical activity. This includes before and after events and during screenings.
  • Coaches MUST wear masks/face coverings at all times.
  • Players and coaches should sanitize hands and equipment regularly.
  • Every individual, including coaches, must be screened every day.
  • NO spectators are allowed.
  • No two teams should be in the same location at one time. If the same field, gym, or enclosed room will be used in the same day by more than one team, teams must allow sufficient time between sessions to clean the area. No team shall use a field, gym, or similar enclosed room on the same day another team has used any of those locations unless proper cleaning has occurred after the previous team’s use. This cleaning requirement shall also apply to groups of up to 30 athletes using the same single space as another group of up to 30 athletes even if those groups comprise one team.
  • All equipment (such as bats, sticks, helmets, sleds, etc.) must be disinfected between individual users or players must provide their own equipment.

Effective August 17, 2020, the following restrictions and requirements apply to all low frequency of contact sports:

  • Full team practices and intra-squad scrimmages are permitted with restrictions.
  • No performances or showcases are permitted.
  • Tournaments that involve only individual players, such as golf, may be played.
  • Social distancing MUST be maintained at all times.
  • Masks/face coverings MUST be worn anytime an individual is not doing vigorous physical activity.
  • Coaches MUST wear face coverings at all times.
  • All equipment (must be disinfected between individual users or all players must provide their own equipment.
  • No spectators are allowed.

The permitted activities must be conducted with the following safety measures:

  • Athletes and coaches shall undergo a health screening and temperature check prior to starting any sports activity allowed by these guidelines.
  • Spectators will be not be allowed.
  • No congregating in parking lots or fields.
  • Players must wear a face covering, including during practices and while training, when not actively involved in vigorous physical activity.
  • Coaches must wear a face covering at all times.
  • Screening times and practice start times must be spaced out to limit the number of athletes and others in the area.
  • The number of players sitting in confined areas (e.g., dugouts) must be limited to allow for social distancing.
  • Hand hygiene is essential. Organizations and facilities shall promote frequent and effective hand hygiene by supplying ample hand sanitizer dispensers and hand-washing stations.
  • The use of locker rooms is not recommended. If they must be used, social distancing (e.g. only every 3rd locker used) and mask requirements apply within the locker room. Do not bring gear or equipment into the locker room. Cleaning is required and equipment must be stored in a designated area.
  • Organizations and facilities should keep a written record of individuals present, including contact information for contact tracing purposes.
  • No congregating shall be allowed by any other individuals who would otherwise be spectators, other than the athletes and coaches, at the fields or outside of their individual modes of transportation.
  • Water bottles must not be shared. An individual athlete may use their own water bottle, which should be clearly marked with their name. Cups used for water should be single-use and disposable.
  • Coolers must be properly sanitized after each use, and each team or group shall have its own cooler.
  • CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting coolers must be followed.
  • Whirlpools or cold/hot tubs should be avoided. If they are required in an emergency, follow best practices. Have a cold-water immersion tub on-site or within 5 minutes of the field.
  • If ice towels are available, CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting should be followed. Ice towels shall be used only once, then discarded or washed properly.
  • Team huddles, handshakes, fist bumps, and other unnecessary physical contact are not allowed.
  • Any shared equipment must be disinfected with EPA certified products. Equipment should be disinfected, if possible, after each use, or after each inning or play period.
  • Any jerseys used during these workouts must be washed daily and not shared among players.

Screening

Every coach and athlete must be screened when they enter the campus or facility where the sporting activity will occur. They must wear a face mask for the duration of the health screening unless masking is not possible due to a medical condition. A consistent person should be designated to provide health screenings. This person must wear a face mask and gloves when screening others.

The screening process is as follows:

  • Ask each individual if they have experienced any of the following new or worsening symptoms within the past 24 hours:
    • Fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit)
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
    • Sore throat, different than your seasonal allergies
    • Loss of smell and/or taste
    • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Ask if they have a close contact who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks.
  • Check each person for fever using a thermometer. 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and above is considered a fever.

After the athlete, coach, or official is screened, they should receive an indicator showing that they have been screened (e.g. colored wrist band or a sticker that changes daily, mark on the hand) with the current date and initials of the screener.

Positive screenings

If an athlete, coach, or official answers “yes” to any of the screening questions or has a fever they should be sent home immediately and told to contact their medical provider. The athlete, coach, or official shall not be allowed back until they are symptom-free.

Individuals who have had a significant exposure (defined as direct contact or prolonged exposure within 6 feet) to a COVID-19-positive individual must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days from the last date of exposure to the COVID-19-positive individual. If the exposed individual has a negative SARS-Cov 2 test, they still must quarantine for 14 days. If the exposed individual develops symptoms during these 14 days, testing for SARS Cov-2 should occur.

The coach, or other official as applicable, is required to notify the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health of the positive screening. The notifying individual must provide information regarding all known contacts of the positive-screened individual. To aid in this contact tracing, all schools, coaches, and other officials conducting the practice must keep a detailed account of all the participants at each practice.

If the individual has health-related questions, the individual must consult with the individual’s own health care provider.

Individuals returning to sports after a COVID-19 diagnosis must consult with both their own health care provider and the Department of Public Health. Only the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health can release a county resident from quarantine or isolation.

Special considerations for athletes and coaches

Athletes and coaches should consider delaying their participation in sports and athletic activities if they have any of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic lung disease, including asthma
  • Severe obesity (BMI>40)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Immunocompromised (e.g. any transplant recipient, needing immunosuppressant medications (e.g. steroids, biologics, etc.), patients receiving chemotherapy, etc.)
  • Age greater than 60 years

Individuals with these risk factors should consider consulting with their healthcare provider about participation in sports or coaching.

Enforcement

Organizations, teams, coaches, and players must understand the importance of enforcing these restrictions and requirements so that individuals may continue to participate in sporting activities. Under DPH orders, Saint Louis County can require an organization or team to cease otherwise permitted activities if the restrictions and requirements are not being followed. In addition to the expectation that organizations, teams, coaches and players will enforce the requirements set forth in these guidelines, all other enforcement actions, including Department of Public Health ordered closure, civil action, and criminal action, remain available to enforce these guidelines.

No ancillary gatherings and meetings with respect to the organization, team or practice should be sanctioned or sponsored.

Organizations, teams, and coaches must, in accordance with DPH Orders, cooperate and assist in contact tracing, including maintaining list of players attending practices.

References