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High, moderate risk sports allowed to proceed in Chautauqua County

This announcement comes after NYS released new guidance for sports and recreation on Friday, giving the approval for higher risk sports to resume on February 1

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. — The Chautauqua County Health Department announced Tuesday that moderate and high risk sports and recreation can proceed in the county.

In a press release the health department said in part, "After extended internal consultation and discussion among Western New York County Health Officials, it has been determined that higher-risk and moderate risk sports may proceed in WNY according to and in compliance with New York State guidelines."

This announcement comes after New York State released new guidance for sports and recreation on Friday, giving the approval for higher risk sports to resume on February 1. Under the new guidance, non-professional and non-collegiate sports such as wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse and volleyball are allowed to proceed with training, competitions and tournaments. 

The county health department stresses that schools, businesses, leagues and organizations all must follow the New York State Department of Health's interim guidance for sports and recreation during the covid-19 public health emergency, as well as any applicable executive orders.

Per New York State guidance, any indoor facilities are required to limit capacity to no more than 50 percent occupancy, and a maximum of two spectators per player. Protocols must also be put in place to ensure social distancing and use of face coverings. Enhanced disinfection protocols are required.

If an athlete, coach or referee tests positive for COVID-19 all in-person team or group activities such as practices, scrimmages, games and meetings will likely be suspended for 10 days to "mitigate the spread of infection." However, the health department says situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

"The level of risk presented by a return to sports is driven by the sport and setting, local disease activity, and individual circumstances including underlying health conditions that may place the athlete or household contacts at increased risk of severe disease should they contract COVID-19. Individual schools and businesses, student and adult athletes, and parents/guardians must carefully consider a variety of factors before making an individual decision to participate."