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Youth Travel Sports Teams and COVID19

November 6, 2020

Pursuant to the New York Forward Guidelines relating to sports and recreation, effective July 6, 2020, as determined by the New York State Empire State Development Corporation (the “ESDC”), higher-risk non-professional and non-collegiate sports and recreation activities are the most unlikely to maintain physical distance during the coronavirus era. 

The New York Forward Guidelines, applicable to New York entities and individuals, established that independent youth sports teams in New York State were (and still are) precluded from organizing, attending, and hosting games, meets, matches, scrimmages, organized leagues, or pick-up sports. Moreover, independent youth sports teams are prohibited from organizing, attending, and hosting competitive tournaments of multiple games, meets, matches, or scrimmages requiring travel. 

According to Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, schools are doing all they can to keep coronavirus from infiltrating classroom and school spaces but traveling sports teams outside the Erie County region are impeding that effort. Proponents of regulating youth sports travel cite Western New York’s (“WNY”) rising positivity rates of coronavirus. According to a recent Buffalo News article, the final week of October saw eighty-two (82) cases of COVID-19 documented in WNY schools. Accordingly, these rising positivity rates are attributed to youth sports as students who ultimately test positive might share a travel history of attending out-of-state sporting events.  

WNY has seen its public-school districts comport with the hygienic and social distancing measures required by the government, intended to keep schools clean and students safe from exposure to the coronavirus. However, youth travel organizations and its members are concerned with how their operations can continue in the face of Governor Cuomo’s most recent guidelines, effective November 4, 2020, while also considering the recent Erie County advisory, which discourages travel of youth sports and recreation organizations and teams.  

Learn more about New York’s guidelines, including those impacting youth sports organizations, players, and concerned parents, by visiting our COVID-19 Resource Center, or by contacting the legal professionals at Tiveron Law, PLLC at 716-636-7600.