Los Angeles County has updated its rules for youth sports, indicating that weekly COVID-19 testing will be required for many sports, and masks will be required in all indoor sports with some exceptions for water sports.
The latest rules and recommendations, released Friday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, come amid an ongoing surge in coronavirus transmission fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.
Weekly COVID-19 tests are required for those involved in youth sports considered high-risk or moderate-risk. High-risk sports include basketball, boxing, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, soccer, water polo and wrestling. Moderate risk sports include baseball, cheerleading, dance, dodgeball, field hockey, kickball, softball, tennis (doubles) and volleyball. Testing must be performed within 48 hours of competition and results must be available before the competition begins.
Players, coaches and fans are also required to wear face coverings when indoors.
“All participants, regardless of vaccination status, (are required) to bring and wear masks,” the new guidance states. “Youth sports participants must wear a face mask even while engaging in physical activity in any indoor setting.”
The guidance provides an exception for water sports such as swimming, water polo, or diving, in which athletes may remove their face masks while they are in the water. Face masks must be worn when participants are not in the water.
Teams are also encouraged to adjust practices to diminish “sustained person-to-person contact” and focus instead on “skill-building activities,” and to consider limiting the number of participants who visit the restroom or locker room at any given time.
Athletes in some sports in L.A. County were briefly required to conduct weekly testing during the surge in COVID-19 last winter and spring, but those requirements were lifted in March when the case rate dropped.