NYSWYSA Return to Play Update

NYSWYSA Return to Play Update

Current Guidelines - Effective 6/15/2021

We are happy to announce that effective immediately, state-mandated COVID restrictions are lifted across commercial and social settings.  This includes social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, health screening, cleaning & disinfecting protocols and contact information for tracing.   The lifting of restrictions also applies to sports and recreation.  We are excited to be returning to a more normal soccer season!  

If you are not vaccinated and unable to maintain a social distance then a face covering is still recommended. If you are playing and not vaccinated, a face covering is recommended unless it can’t be tolerated.

Official NYS Statement: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-most-remaining-covid-19-restrictions-be-lifted-when-70-adult-new
 


Individual Face Mask Policy - Updated 5/17/2021

 

We have received confirmation today (5/17/2021) from NY State Government in Albany that the May 10th, outdoor social gathering limit increase from 200 to 500 people and the May 19th, indoor social gathering limit increase from 100 to 250 people, are applicable to Youth Sports. 
 
In addition, effective May 19th, vaccinated spectators don’t need masks.  The mask guidance for players, coaches, and referees remains as previously communicated in the Youth Sports guidance document updated on 3/25/2021.


We just wanted to confirm guidance as it stands today for face coverings in youth soccer as set forth in New York State – Department of Health “INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR SPORTS AND RECREATION DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY” (As of March 25, 2021) which provides in pertinent part:

 

For participants -"Responsible Parties must ensure a distance of at least six feet is maintained among individuals at all times, whether indoor or outdoor, unless safety or the core activity (e.g. practicing, playing) requires a shorter distance. If a shorter distance is required, individuals must wear acceptable face coverings, unless players are unable to tolerate a face covering for the physical activity (e.g. practicing, playing); provided, however, that coaches, trainers, and other individuals who are not directly engaged in physical activity are required to wear a face covering. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks that cover both the mouth and nose.” [emphasis supplied]

 

Based on a fair reading of the above language we interpret ‘tolerate’ as applied to participants, as contrasted with spectators, not in the medical sense, but rather in the personal feeling sense. The acceptable face covering while playing is a personal choice of toleration by the player. If they can tolerate the mask while playing they should wear one. If they cannot tolerate a mask while playing they should not be compelled to do so.

 

Please ensure that your club/ team policy is consistent with the protocol set forth above.

 

In the event we receive any further information bearing on this issue we will pass it on to you.

 

In State Travel Restrictions - Update as of 3/29/2021

  • No Restrictions
  • Teams from other states may practice or play in NYS.

Out of State Travel update from Albany - Update as of 4/01/2021

  • If you choose to travel to other states, keep in mind that the New York COVID-19 Travel Advisory must be followed, as well as that of the State or States you are travelling to.
    • The travel guidelines require all New Yorkers as well as those visiting from out of state, to take personal responsibility for compliance in the best interest of public health and safety.
  • If teams wish to travel to another state they must fill out the Online Traveler Health Form but are not required to quarantine. 
  • Teams from other states may practice or play in NYS.

 

12/17/2020

Updated COVID-19 Hold Harmless Waiver

  • This form is for use moving forward.  You do not need to re-sign if you have completed one previously.

 

Capacity Restrictions
The sports and recreation guidance provides the following in regard to capacity restrictions (p. 5):

  • Responsible Parties must ensure that for any indoor sport or recreational activity, capacity is limited to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy, inclusive of employees and patrons/players/spectators.
    • Responsible Parties must limit spectators to no more than two spectators per player.
  • Responsible Parties must ensure a distance of at least six feet is maintained among individuals at all times, whether indoor or outdoor, unless safety or the core activity (e.g. practicing, playing) requires a shorter distance. If a shorter distance is required, individuals must wear acceptable face coverings, unless players are unable to tolerate a face covering for the physical activity (e.g. practicing, playing); provided, however, that coaches, trainers, and other individuals who are not directly engaged in physical activity are required to wear a face covering.

The social gathering limit -- which is currently 50 or fewer people in areas that are not subject to the State's cluster action initiative -- is not the controlling limitation for these activities.  The limit is the lesser of 2 spectators per player or 50% maximum occupancy indoors/space required such that all spectators can maintain six feet of separation outdoors (e.g., roughly 100 square feet per person).

 

U.S. Soccer Guidance 11/13/2020

U.S. Soccer has released guidelines for indoor soccer as part of its PLAY ON campaign, providing coaches, players, parents, referees and administrators with considerations to continue to ensure safe play indoors as winter approaches.

U.S. Soccer encourages playing outdoors whenever it is safe to do so in accordance with its Cold Weather Guidelines. When weather doesn’t permit outdoor play, these indoor recommendations will help evaluate and mitigate risk.

US Soccer guidelines for indoor soccer do not supersede the specific requirements a venue has in place. The requirements of the venue should always take precedence.


Please see the link below which specifies the return to play guidelines for Sports and Recreation effective July 6th for Soccer as mandated by the New York State government. This remains in effect until removed from the website, at which time New York State government will have lifted the restrictions.

Detailed Document - Click Here

Summary Document - Click Here

The State of New York has classified Soccer as a moderate Risk Sport and their guidelines clarify what type of play is allowed.  The guidelines specify both the mandatory requirements of return to play and the recommended best practices.  Refer to the above link to ensure that your respective soccer programming meets the New York State requirements.

Additionally, NYSWYSA recommends referencing the US Soccer Play On guidelines as a template to develop your own program-specific return to play protocols.  The US Soccer guidelines can be accessed via the link below. Please make sure that in using these guidelines, your program-specific protocols also meet the mandated New York State government requirements. 

https://www.ussoccer.com/playon/guides

US Soccer advocates a phased return to play for all players.  US Soccer recommendations include many additional resources which should help in the construction of your specific return to play protocols.  

As previously circulated here is a link to a template for a Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreement, which you may use if you choose to do so.  It is recommended that you review this template with your organization’s legal counsel before utilizing it.   Click here!  for the template and click this FAQ link for additional information.  FAQ regarding Hold Harmless Document 

Additional Resources:

CDC Considerations for Youth Sports

USYS COVID Tip Sheet

NYS COVID Testing Information

NYS COVID Travel Advisory

Finally, please ensure all players returning to play are registered as ACTIVE with NYSWYSA and therefore insured to the end of the season.

Regards,

New York State West Youth Soccer Association.