Let them play.
That was the message Nassau County Executive Laura Curran sent to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in a letter on Tuesday with a request that he officially allow outdoor youth sports to resume in the county’s parks.
“I’m writing to request that you officially allow youth sports and team practices to resume in our outdoor County parks,” the letter read. It emphasized a gradual return of youth sports beginning with individual drills and practices.
Long Island on Wednesday enters Phase 2 of the state’s re-opening plan, but where exactly outdoor youth sports fits into the overall strategy is unclear. Protocols already are in place for playing golf and singles tennis in parks; perhaps those same protocols could be used in individual drills. However, the Island’s summer day camps are not permitted to open until June 29.
The only real mention of “recreation” per se comes in Phase 4 but there is some ambiguity. Phase 3 would usher back the hospitality industry, including hotels that have gyms for guests. But gyms and fitness centers wouldn’t re-open until Phase 4.
In Massachusetts, outdoor youth sports — with restrictions on contact, group size and shared equipment — were permitted in its Phase 2.
“I believe we can change rules and regulations as needed to protect the health and safety of players, coaches and fans,” Curran wrote in her letter to Cuomo. “States across the nation are finding ways to resume youth sports this summer, and I believe with strict protocols in place we can also find a way. As such I believe Long Island is ready to implement phased return to youth sports action, beginning with individual drills and practices before progressing to games and local tournaments.”
Newsday reported on Monday that the Town of Brookhaven announced it will host a high school baseball tournament July 8-12 and that area-based travel teams are playing in out-of-state tournaments where it’s permitted.