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Niagara Falls lawmaker calls on New York State to allow youth sports to resume now

A Niagara County legislator says the state's resumption of youth sports on July 6 is simply too long of a wait.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — There's a lot of debate over when youth sports should be allowed to resume.

The state has slated low-risk sports to start back up on July 6. But Niagara County legislator Chris Robins says that July 6 date just doesn't make sense.

It's nearly a week after the potential start of Phase 4 in Western New York, and some kids are playing pick-up games already.

Robins, a Democrat who represents Niagara Falls, says kids are being bottled up right now and said they should be allowed to at least practice so long as guidelines are followed.

Outdoor, low-risk sports such as tennis, golf and swim classes are allowed, so long as social distancing and sanitizing rules are followed.

"You got bars and restaurants open right now. You got your Walmarts and Home Depots and all these things like that, but to tell a kid that he can't go to shortstop or left field to play right now, I just think is overkill," Robins said.

According to the state, the only sports that are allowed are the ones on the Empire State Development website. Speaking of baseball, use of batting cages is allowed. 

The state says when low-risk youth sports restarts, two spectators will be allowed per child.

On Wednesday, Erie County's Health Commissioner says the county got clarification from the state on youth sports guidance. 

"We were informed by the Empire State Development this morning youth sports can only begin on July 6th, and that is not only to play sports but to play games. It also includes for practices, so no practices and no games until July 6th," Commissioner Gale Burstein said. 

We have heard of some organized practicing.

The Clarence Baseball Association says it has had practices of small groups – 12 groups of four players – getting ready for the upcoming season.

The association's president tells us social distancing and sanitation guidelines have been in place. 

But the town supervisor says fields will be closed until July 6.

Burstein says that schools and municipalities could be in violation of insurance policies if fields are open and practices are allowed. 

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