Vermont H.S. sports, outdoor recreation allowed to begin

Gov. Phil Scott has given winter sports athletes a faint green light to begin their seasons.

Starting Saturday, Vermont’s school-based and youth recreation sports teams will be permitted to conduct practices for individual skills, strength and conditioning, the governor announced at a news briefing on Tuesday.

“This means no contact, physical distant and wearing a mask at all times,” Scott said.

With schools going on break for the holidays, it is unclear whether many, if any, will opt to begin practicing on such short notice. The governor had hinted Friday that changes could be possible this week, but Tuesday’s announcement allows only three days’ time for programs to prepare to start the day after Christmas.

Adult leagues are not included in the change and no spectators are permitted for these activities. 

More:A COVID-free recap of Vermont sports highlights from 2020

Outdoor recreational activities also received the OK to resume in a more social form this week. Sports such as sliding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and hiking fall under this umbrella.

“We are returning to prior guidance, which means as long as you can be physically distant, wear a mask, you can participate in these activities with others outside your household,” Scott said.

More:Vermont Gov. Scott slightly loosens COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Christmas, New Years

The Burlington/Colchester SeaLakers wait to skate out for the second period during a Division I high school girls hockey semifinal at Leddy Park on Friday, March 6, 2020.

“But you’ve got to follow the ‘arrive, play and leave’ approach, meaning mingling afterwards is not allowed,” he said. “You don’t have to look any further than the hockey outbreak in central Vermont to see how dangerous one tailgate can be.”

Scott also announced Tuesday that gatherings between two trusted households will be allowed for the holiday season, from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2.

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