Morning All, 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]
“For spectators, the following additional safety measures apply: Responsible Parties must ensure spectators maintain six feet of physical distance between individuals and/or family/household units at all times and all spectators must wear face coverings at all times, so long as they are over the age of two and medically able to tolerate such covering. Responsible Parties may allow spectators to temporarily remove their face covering to consume food or beverages so long as they are seated and socially distanced. ▪ Responsible Parties may facilitate appropriate distancing through the use of markings on the ground or seating areas, and other signage.” [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 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.
New York State West Youth Soccer Association
Tel: (508) 250 9854