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April 22, 2021 Masking Rules Update for Outdoor Sports

(posted April 22, 2021 6:00 PM)

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released updated guidance for organized sports at 11 AM on April 22, 2021. The specific wording of the update- as it pertains to outdoor sports- is as follows:

The term "participants" includes athletes and officials, according to guidance from MDH. MNSRC recommendations are as follows:

Officials

Officials working outdoor matches have the option of choosing to not wear a mask while officiating. MDH strongly recommends either wearing a mask (but does not mandate it) or being tested weekly for COVID-19 to ensure the participant is maintaining a negative status.

Officials should have a mask on their person, wear it until kickoff, and put it on as soon as that period of play ends. Masks should be always worn when NOT actively officiating.

Players and Team Officials

As with officials, players on the field are not required to wear masks… it is only recommended. Inactive players and team officials OFF the field are required to wear masks. This includes in the technical area. As the current guidelines indicate masks are only required when not “actively practicing or playing,” it is presumed that athletes warming up do not need to wear masks.

Referees are NOT expected to police masking by substitutes and team officials. It is the responsibility of the competition authority to regulate mask-wearing. Therefore, if a team official or substitute or substituted player is not wearing a mask in the technical area, it is NOT the responsibility of the referee to correct this.

Misconduct in the technical areas should be dealt with from six feet away to minimize the risk of infection.

Spectators

Spectators are still required to wear masks by the current rules. However, referees are not to get involved with the enforcement of this mandate on spectators. It is the responsibility of the site supervisor and competition authority to manage this.

What to do When Uncomfortable

If technical area substitutes, team officials, or spectators are not wearing masks and failing to social distance (six feet) from referees or assistant referees (thus placing them at risk for infection), the referee may suspend play and ask the site supervisor, senior team official, or team captain to get his/her guilty parties to comply with regulations. If the guilty individual refuses to comply, the match should be abandoned.

Please understand this ONLY applies if the individual (a) OFF THE FIELD is (b) impinging on social distance requirements (c) without a mask. We want to reiterate that officials are not to worry about non-compliance in situations where the officials are not at risk for infection. Such situations are the domain of the site supervisor.

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Please understand these recommendations apply to OUTDOOR venues only. Matches played indoors (inside domes, fieldhouses, or gyms) are still subject to indoor requirements.


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