State issues updated guidelines and tier system for local sports

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By Ray Hamill — On Monday evening the state of California released updated guidelines for high school and adult recreational sports, establishing a tier system for when competition can potentially resume.

The updated guidelines, which were not expected before the new year, also indicated that team competition will not be allowed until Jan. 25 at the earliest, while also prohibiting community teams from traveling out of state to compete, which many had been doing.

The press release added that “the return-to-competition date will be reassessed by January 4, 2021 based on California disease transmission trends and is subject to change at any time given the level of COVID-19 transmission in California.”

Humboldt County is currently in the purple or most restricted of the four COVID-19 tiers in California, as is much of the state.

A return to competition in various sports depends on how quickly the county can move up through the less restricted tiers.

For local high schools, outdoor low-contact sports such as cross country, golf, tennis and track and field would be allowed to compete under the purple tier, while baseball and softball would be allowed to compete under the red or second most restricted tier.

Football, outdoor basketball, soccer, volleyball and indoor swimming — as well as rugby and rowing at Humboldt State — will not get the all-clear until the county reaches the orange tier, while indoor basketball, wrestling and cheerleading (indoor) won’t get the all-clear until the county reaches the yellow or least restricted tier.

Travel for teams will also be restricted, with competition allowed only if both teams are located in the same county or teams are located in immediately bordering counties.

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