DHHS says masks no longer required for outdoor sports

— Gov. Roy Cooper and the Department of Health & Human Services announced additional easing of coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday afternoon, including the mask mandate for youth sports.

According to Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Secretary for DHHS, new guidance from the state means youth sports athletes will not be required to wear outdoor masks when the new executive order takes effect on Friday.

“With the changes we’re making related to the mask mandate today, for those doing youth sports outsides, they will no longer need to be wearing a mask when they are actively doing their sports,” Cohen said.

That could mean masks would still be required for athletes when they are on the bench or not actively competing. HighSchoolOT has reached out to the N.C. High School Athletic Association to see if it is changing its mask mandate.

There are still some risks for athletes though, according to Cohen.

“I do want to remind folks that folks under 16 are not able to get vaccinated, so they are an unvaccinated population. For all of our unvaccinated population, whether it’s children or adults, we continue to recommend that folks wear masks outdoors when they can’t be distant from other people,” Cohen said. “However, today’s changes in the executive order do allow youth sports, when folks are playing youth sports outside, that they do not need to be wearing masks.”

This is a developing story, it will be updated.

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