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City to issue permits to some outdoor youth sports leagues for fall seasons

Pier 40 is a field of dreams for young soccer players, as well as baseball players. Local youth sports leagues, like Greenwich Village Little League and Downtown United Soccer Club, will defend the pier’s sprawling ball fields during the planning process for the pier’s development, making sure that athletic uses are not compromised. Photo courtesy The Villager.

Some outdoor youth sports leagues will be allowed to return to the field beginning Tuesday, Sept. 15, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed on Friday. 

WNYC’s Brian Lehrer broke the news during his weekly ‘Ask the Mayor’ segment shortly after pressing de Blasio on school reopening details. Now, youth baseball, softball, soccer, flag football, non-contact lacrosse and cricket teams can request permits from the Parks Department to play outdoors, de Blasio said. 

“The folks in the sports league that do so much for our kids they’ve been appealing for the ability to open up and we are going to grant that,” de Blasio told listeners. 

In order to abide by state health guidelines, all coaches, spectators, leagues and sideline players must wear masks at all times. Players are also encouraged to wear masks while playing if possible, according to City Hall. Players must maintain social distance while not in active gameplay and spectators are limited to two per player. Those watching games must immediately leave the field postgame, according to the Parks Department. 

Park staff will conduct spot inspections at league practices and games and will enforce a “three-strikes” policy by revoking league permits after witnessing three health violations, de Blasio said. Permits will be suspended for all sports if the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests exceeds 3%. 

Applicants must pledge to keep a log of all league participants’ contact information to aid in the city’s testing and tracing efforts in case a member tests positive for the virus, according to the online application. 

Coaches, players and staff must also fill out a COVID-19 screening questionnaire offsite 10 days before any “event”  and notify league organizers of any positive cases of the virus, any symptomatic league members or close contact with a COVID-19 positive person. 

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