Youth sports to resume Wednesday, indoor sports resume in July

Outdoor games and scrimmages for youth sports can resume in Minnesota on Wednesday.

The Minnesota Department of Health recommends teams take a phased approach, starting with inter-team scrimmages during practice, playing local teams two weeks later and expanding to teams beyond the local community two weeks after that.

Practices have already been taking place in small pods since the beginning of the month. Full team practices can resume June 24th, with pod sizes not exceeding 25 people per pod, both inside and outside.

Indoor sports can begin games and scrimmages on July 1st. 

The National Sports Center in Blaine has implemented changes across its 60 fields and eight ice rinks, such as encouraging players to bring their own equipment and coming to the arena already dressed to cut down on locker room use.

"We want them to feel safe and comfortable but yet have fun and be a kid," said Sara Soli, chief marketing officer at the National Sports Center, "so it is a lot to balance both for them and the adults that are trying to help them get back to as normal as possible."

MDH recommends teams reduce contact between players, even during games. The department also encourages players to keep six feet of space on the sidelines, which presents new challenges for many facilities.

"Do we need to invest in more benches so kids can have that social spacing?" Soli said. "With the hockey benches, our benches are currently locked in by walls. Do we need to look at removing walls to allow for longer benches for kids?"

As for masks, state health officials said they understand it may be challenging to wear masks during games but athletes and coaches should wear them as much as possible in practice. 

MDH also said players should "find new ways to show sportsmanship, for example use hands or hats to give a wave."

Family and friends should not attend practices to avoid crowding. 

If spectators are present at games, they must follow social distancing guidelines and are encouraged to wear masks.

 Out-of-state travel for sports is strongly discouraged.

"Things will continue to change and evolve and people just need to be patient and watch and see what happens with the Department of Health and the Governor's Office," Soli said. "Someday we’ll all be playing and watching together."

For the full list of state guidelines for youth sports, click here.