DILON — On Thursday, sports and recreation in Summit County and across Colorado took a major leap in reopening amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Thursday afternoon released a new public health order governing COVID-19 regulations across the state. The order announced major changes to recreation and sports, including the permission of youth and adult sports leagues in groups up to 25 players. Other recreation updates include the opening of indoor sports and recreation facilities — including indoor pools — up to 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer, per room “so long as people can stay 6 feet apart from each other.” The state also is permitting outdoor pools to open with a limit on capacity of 50% or up to 50 people, whichever is fewer.
The state’s changes to those recreation activities went into effect Thursday.
Early Thursday evening, as the county worked on its new public health order in the wake of the release of the state’s order, Summit County spokesperson Julie Sutor said the county plans to align with the state on “all activities and operations related to sports and recreation.” That includes the state’s personal and outdoor recreation guidance.
The state’s order further details that while individuals are participating in recreation or organized sports, the state asks recreationists to physically distance by staying at least 6 feet away from members of other households. The state is also encouraging participants to wear a mask while recreating. During indoor recreation, such as at fitness centers, the state’s new public health order encourages recreation facilities to have staff members and patrons wear face coverings “when they can do so safely.”
As for organized recreational sports, the new state order stipulates masks are encouraged “where feasible,” such as in dugouts and worn by coaches and spectators. The 25 total number of participants the state stipulates for youth and adult recreational sports does not include coaches, referees and umpires.
The state is strongly discouraging spectators for adult sports, but for youth sports, the state is encouraging groups, such as players’ parents, to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from members of other households while watching.
As for games, the state says to hold games with other teams only every two weeks “to minimize the number of new teams of players interacting.” That said, the state says regular practices with the same group is fine.
As for competitive events such as races and endurance events, the state says these types of events are allowed “as long as social distancing and limitations on group size can be maintained.”
“This includes implementing staggered start times and making efforts to prevent gatherings at starts and finishes, so that no more than 10 people are gathered at a time,” the state order reads.
As for indoor pools at recreation centers, the state is encouraging limiting pool activity to lap swimming.
At outdoor pools — which the state says include municipal, rec center and homeowner association pools as well as hot tubs and hot springs — the state says capacity should be limited to 50% or 50 people, whichever is fewer.
At outdoor sports facilities for nonorganized recreation, the state says courts and fields can be open with to up to 25 people per court or field.
After Breckenridge Recreation Director Scott Reid said last week that the town of Breckenridge was targeting a June 17 open for the Breckenridge Recreation Center, Reid on Thursday said the rec center’s opening date will bump up a week to Wednesday, June 10, with the center’s pool opening a day later.
Over at Silverthorne Recreation Center, town of Silverthorne Recreation & Culture Director Joanne Cook said earlier this week that once the county gives the center approval to reopen, the rec center could reopen two to three days later. She added Tuesday that Silverthorne had its sights on the week of June 15 “as a possibility.”