CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new restrictions for youth and adult recreational sports across the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The regulations go into effect on Aug. 15 and impact the Illinois High School and Elementary School Associations (IHSA, IESA), travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers and and park district sports programs. The guidance does not apply to professional or college level sports.
“When the multi-billion dollar sports leagues with multi-million dollar athletes are struggling to protect their players it’s obvious that there won’t be enough protection for kids on our school’s playing fields."
Sports are categorized into high, medium and low risk levels based on the threat of coronavirus transmission. Sports are then grouped into four "Type of Play Levels" that dictate what kind of play is permitted:
1. No-contact practices or trainings only.
2. Intra-team scrimmages allowed with parental consent for minors, no competitive play.
3. Intra-conference or intra-EMS region or intra-league play/meets only; state or league championships allowed for low-risk sports only
4. Tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, multi-team meets, out-of-state play allowed; championship games allowed.
"Collectively we hope that when metrics and risks improve measurably we can restart these sports," Pritzker said.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,393 new cases of the coronavirus in the state. Since the start of the pandemic, 175,124 Illinoisans have tested positive for the virus. Ezike said since Tuesday, 18 additional residents died from COVID-19 meaning 7,462 people in the state have died.
"The virus is spreading throughout Illinois and more counties are heading into a warning level status," Ezike said.