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Sports

General Guidelines

  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all persons (employee and guest) in all public places where close proximity to others is anticipated. Businesses and organizations may determine to require the use of face coverings by those on premise. There is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone unable to remove the mask without assistance
  •  Persons should stay home when feeling ill
    • Any person who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must isolate at home for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms (or the date they were tested, if asymptomatic) AND must be fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) AND have improvement in symptoms for at least 24 hours
    • Any person who has been a close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) of a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should quarantine at home for a period of 14 days from their last exposure to that individual. A negative COVID test does not affect this quarantine requirement
  • Screen for COVID-19 symptoms, or ask individuals to self-screen
    • Symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater), chills, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • Take appropriate precautions to maintain the confidentiality of health information
  • Mitigate exposure in the workplace by implementing social distancing practices to the greatest extent possible
    • Take into account critical factors such as venue capacity and physical characteristics, type of activity involved, and location (indoor vs. outdoor) to properly assess risk and exercise good faith judgment in maintaining appropriate social distancing for each unique situation
    • Such measures could include: spacing workstations appropriately; limiting capacity of gatherings in confined, indoor spaces; utilizing larger and/or outdoor spaces; limiting congregation in common and break areas; utilizing virtual/remote capabilities where possible; allowing work from home where appropriate; and/or modified scheduling
    • Consider the use of barriers at counters or between workstations where helpful
  • Improve ventilation for confined, indoor spaces. Circulate outdoor air where possible and when code compliance and security may be maintained
  • Increase hygiene practices—encourage frequent handwashing with soap and water, make hand sanitizer (60% alcohol) readily available, encourage practicing good respiratory etiquette when coughing or sneezing and avoiding touching one’s face
  • Implement cleaning and disinfection practices according to CDC recommendations, with frequent disinfection of shared/common or high-touch surfaces
  • Plan for potential COVID-19 cases and work with health department officials (including observing isolation/quarantine protocols, assisting with contact tracing, planning for personnel absences or remote work, and deep cleaning facilities). Notify the local health department of employee positive cases and cooperate with the local health department in notifying close contacts
  • If a facility becomes aware that a person has a confirmed case of COVID-19:
    • Close off areas used by the person who is sick. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the areas
    • Wait up to 24 hours or as long as possible before you clean or disinfect to allow respiratory droplets to settle before cleaning and disinfecting
    • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, and common areas
    • If more than 7 days have passed since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary
  • Educate persons about COVID-19 with signage (resources available from ERG and CDC)
  • Use signage, floor markings or other cues to direct human traffic flow and manage lines
  • Consider appropriate precautions for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID
  • Increase remote, curbside, pickup, and/or delivery options to minimize contact and maintain social distancing.  Use contactless methods where practical (e.g., payment, check-in, etc.)
  • Be mindful of applicable state or local COVID-19 regulations or orders and ensure your operations facilitate compliance
  • Evaluate the profile of customer and employee engagement with the venue and other persons at such venue to make appropriate adaptations as necessary to protect against COVID-19, even if not recommended or described in this document
  • Take steps to ensure that all mechanical, electrical, and water systems are properly functioning and safe for use after a prolonged facility shutdown
  • Covered employers and employees should be aware of the provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which allows for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons, such as for self-quarantining or seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms

Revised: October 1, 2020

Industry Guidelines

These guidelines are intended for youth and adult sports. The risk of COVID-19 transmission varies by sport/activity, and these guidelines are intended as a supplement to assist with safely engaging in practice and competition. Additional regulations from a sport’s governing body or conference (e.g., TSSAA) may be applicable. School-sponsored athletic practices and competition must be conducted in a manner consistent with TSSAA regulations, and non-school-sponsored athletics must be conducted in a manner consistent with Tennessee Pledge guidelines. For K-12 athletics, the decision to permit sports-related activities is the discretion of a school and its governing body for athletics. Collegiate and professional athletics must be conducted pursuant to the rules of their respective governing bodies and institutions.

  • Practice social distancing to the greatest extent possible
    • Implement social distancing on the bench/sideline. Eliminate or relocate non-essential persons from team areas. Use larger areas for practice, warm-ups, or other staging to allow for greater physical separation
    • Spectators should maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others not from the same household, including in seating areas or bleachers. In localities where fan attendance is permitted, venues are encouraged to limit fan attendance to a number that will allow social distancing and should mark/designate bleachers or seats in order to promote social distancing among spectators. In consultation with local health providers, in areas experiencing high virus transmission, consider further limitations on attendance (e.g., family members only, or no spectators). Offer virtual/remote observation where possible
    • Limit use of, or congregation within, confined indoor areas such as locker rooms
    • Venues should assure adequate space, staffing, and timing of entrances so as to not promote crowding for any period of time during ingress/egress
    • Post venue signage encouraging social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions.
    • If larger crowds are anticipated, establish a “guest flow” plan
    • Consider caps on the number of teams or athletes (and/or spectators) as appropriate
    • Manage the number of people in restroom facilities at any one time to reduce potential exposure within those confined spaces, and ensure that disinfection is occurring at increased intervals
  • Wearing a cloth face covering may not be possible while actively participating in a certain athletic activity (e.g., swimming, distance running, high-intensity aerobic activity), but participants, coaches, officials, and spectators should wear a face covering when not actively engaged in competition/practice
  • Athletes and coaches should refrain from high fives, handshake lines, and other avoidable contact with teammates, opposing teams, coaches, umpires, and fans
  • Assess the risk of the particular activity or sport. Noncontact sporting events and activities (including, but not limited to, baseball, softball, golf, disc golf, tennis, cycling, track and field and cross country or running events, swimming, skiing, archery, cricket, and equestrian) generally present lower risk in terms of COVID-19, while contact sporting events and activities (including, but not limited to, wrestling, football, rugby, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, competitive cheer, ice and field hockey, mixed martial arts, boxing, volleyball, water polo) can present moderate to high risk. Appropriate modifications and precautions can further the safe resumption of such activity
  • Certain components of training are appropriate to temporarily limit or modify. Consider focusing on skill development and play that limits or reduces close contact between persons
  • Consider limiting competition to teams in your region or league/conference. Expand play as appropriate in light of COVID-19 case prevalence existing at the time. Avoid scrimmages with other teams outside official competition
  • Limit transporting teams/athletes in large groups where possible. When group transport is required, everyone in the vehicle should be encouraged to wear a cloth face covering and practice social distancing in the vehicle as much as possible. Give special consideration to appropriate precautions where overnight travel is involved
  • Disinfection and handling of sporting equipment:
    • Whenever possible, equipment and personal items should not be shared. If equipment must be shared, disinfect between each use or as regularly as possible, according to CDC/EPA guidelines for disinfection (e.g., track and field relay batons and field implements, ball racks, tackling dummies)
    • To the extent possible, avoid sharing equipment or balls between teams. For applicable sports, balls and other equipment should be rotated on a regular basis to limit contact by multiple users, unless disinfected
  • Identify alternate rules of play due to COVID-19 where possible
    • Refer to Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s modified regulations, as applicable, or other rules from a league or sport governing body or association
    • Running or similar events with larger groups of participants should consider utilizing smaller heats/waves or interval starts. Use electronic timing if possible to minimize congestion at the start/finish, and have finish line officials wear face coverings. Use venues or courses that allow for greater physical separation of athletes
    • Tournaments could utilize single elimination to decrease interaction between teams and reduce the number of persons that remain on-site
    • Expand the sidelines area for social distancing, and limit pre-game meeting attendees
    • Refer to COVID-19 rules or resources from a sport’s governing body (e.g., USA Gymnastics, USA Track and Field, USA Softball, USA Football, USA Hockey, US Golf Association, Little League®)
  • Use caution with indoor practices/training and competition. Use social distancing and, when appropriate, face coverings. Improve ventilation where possible and as permitted by building regulations.
  • Athletes, coaches, and others are encouraged to use personal beverages rather than use team/shared bottles
  • Positive COVID-19 case management: Organizers/coaches should maintain a complete list of persons, with contact information, present at each practice/competition and cooperate with the local health department in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 by a participant. An effort should be made to maintain a log of spectators with contact information, to the extent possible, so that participants may be notified by public health officials if close contact has occurred
  • Consider offering virtual participation or spectating options where possible
  • Virtual team meetings are encouraged where possible
  • Limit awards ceremonies or post-event celebrations to reduce potential for larger crowds
  • Implement appropriate precautions for band section and cheerleaders, if present. Due to the potential increased risk of virus transmission during certain activities that project respiratory droplets, the use of bands at contests is discouraged. If a band is present, limit to a halftime performance or relocate the band from the stands to other available areas away from crowds and increase the amount of physical distance between band members. Increase the amount of physical distance between cheerleaders as well as between cheerleaders and other persons if projected voices are to be used

Other Resources

Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Regulations: https://tssaa.org/returntoplay

CDC Considerations for Youth Sports: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/youth-sports.html

CDC Youth Sports Program FAQs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/youth-sports-faq.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM31413