Scott says some sports can restart next week, games as soon as July 1

Phil Scott
Gov. Phil Scott answers questions on the state’s Covid-19 response at a press briefing on May 29. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

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Organized sports are set to restart in Vermont next week — with limitations.

Starting next week, teams will be allowed to gather for practice, with games beginning as soon as July 1, Gov. Phil Scott announced at a press conference Monday.

Gov. Phil Scott announced the latest reopening measures during a press conference Monday. He noted the guidance from his administration only applies to recreational sports, and not to college or professional athletics — at least for now. 

The governor said practices and games will need to remain within the current guidance that gatherings be no larger than 25 people. He added “crowd sizes should be kept as small as possible, and can’t exceed 25, either.”

“We’re talking about low-contact sports like soccer, baseball, softball, or lacrosse,” Scott said.  “To be clear, we’re not ready for high-contact sports like wrestling, football and basketball.”

However, higher contact sports can still “conduct no and low contact physical conditioning and skill building drills,” according to guidance released Monday by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. 

Scott said that practices and inter-team scrimmages can begin on June 15 (next Monday), adding participants “will need to work to keep within six feet between players, coaches, and spectators, whenever possible, and facial covering…when participants are close together in between play.”

The ACCD guidance adds that spitting and sharing water bottles will not be allowed. It advises that the same coaches continue interacting with the same players, and advises outdoor activities whenever possible. It also makes the following recommendations. 

  • During times when players are not actively participating in practice or competition, attention should be given to maintaining social distancing by increasing space between players on the sidelines, dugouts, or benches.
  • During competition, alter spacing of participants, officials, and coaches to achieve physical distancing to the greatest extent possible (e.g., consider moving baseball/softball umpires behind the pitcher and moving the catcher further behind the plate).
  • All players, coaches, officials, staff, and spectators must have a cloth facial covering in their possession to be used, as necessary, when physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Face coverings should be worn as much as possible.
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The governor conceded that reopening sports in this way will be a challenge. “I truly understand how difficult this will be,” he said. 

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Colin Meyn

About Colin

Colin Meyn is VTDigger's managing editor. He spent most of his career in Cambodia, where he was a reporter and editor at English-language newspapers The Cambodia Daily and The Phnom Penh Post, and most recently at Southeast Asia Globe, a regional current affairs magazine. He is a native of Maine and studied journalism at Northwestern University.

Email: [email protected]

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