County officials explain safety requirements for sports

County officials explain safety requirements for sports

BUFFALO (WBEN) – As announced last week, high-risk sports will be allowed to resume in Erie County, as the state left that determination to individual health departments last week.

Erie County Director Mark Poloncarz and County Health Commissioner Dr Gale Burstein held their weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon, and they explained some of the mandates in health and safety.

ECDOH announcement on NY Forward Sports and Recreation guideline updates. https://t.co/jKIKcFve4n / 12 pic.twitter.com/K7rWEbgraJ

– Erie County Department of Health ? (@ECDOH) January 26, 2021

According to Poloncarz, they will allow games and the competitions will be played on February 1, but he said: “there are rules to follow.”

For example, each team is responsible for selecting all athletes and coaches before each team activity; athletes will be required to wear a mask when not playing or participating; the use of changing rooms is strongly discouraged; spectators must wear masks and they will be limited to two per player; indoor sports facilities will be limited to 50% of their capacity; sports trips outside of Western New York and the Finger Lakes areas are strongly discouraged; current New York State travel advice still applies to athletes and coaches; Teams from other counties in the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions will be allowed to travel to Erie County for the competition.

Burstein added that an individual’s vaccination status does not change or alter athletic requirements at this time.

“One of the conversations we’ve had with New York State and I’ve had specifically with members of the governor’s office is that this is in the hands of local health departments, and if there are any problems, you can shut down an entire league, ”Poloncarz said. “I want teams, coaches and parents to understand that New York State has given them the opportunity to play sports, but if we see the numbers increase, if we see cases attributable to sports, we will demand no only the closure of the teams, we could demand the closure of the whole league.

“It’s in everyone’s best interests to follow the rules and do their best, because if we find out that there are those who don’t follow the rules, we can just stop it, and the state has us. given the power to do so ”. Poloncarz continued. “We don’t want to do it, and we hope that everyone follows the rules correctly, but if we find out that this is not the case, or if there are a number of cases arising from the sport being played… we have the power to stop it. “

As for the most up-to-date COVID numbers, Poloncarz is encouraged to know where the county is heading. As of January 24, the seven-day positivity rate stands at 5.2%. There are 409 COVID patients in hospitals in western New York City, including 314 in Erie County.

Poloncarz added that the county is seeing a drop in cases across the board in urban, suburban and rural areas.

“It’s a good sign, let’s continue.”

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