Move back to Phase 2 could cause setbacks for youth, high school sports

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SPOKANE, Wash.– A fourth wave of infections is likely forcing Spokane County and many others back to Phase 2 next week.

Twelve counties across Washington are currently failing the metrics needed to stay in Phase 3. A move back means fewer people at restaurants and gyms, and potentially a big hit for high school sports.

The Greater Spokane League is trying every avenue to make sure games can still happen.

“We pushed it to the end to give us the best opportunity to be able to play, and obviously when we made that decision, we saw things headed in the right direction,” GSL Director Ken Vansickle said.

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Low risk and moderate risk sports like baseball, softball and soccer can continue games but at a limited capacity of 200 people max, which includes the athletes.

High risk sports like basketball and wrestling aren’t able to compete; they can only train and practice. But, the GSL told 4 News Now it may move wrestling outside to make it work for competitions. That would mean putting the mats on a football field or track.

Basketball is tougher, because they cannot just move to outdoor courts for safety reasons, but they are not ruling anything out.

All of these sports may also even travel to different counties that are staying in Phase 3 where the games can be hosted.

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“We’re looking at options and what we can do,” Vansickle said. “We’re gonna do everything we can to get them back out there playing.”

While sports may suffer a setback, graduation ceremonies should be alright. The governor’s guidance shows ceremonies can operate under Phase 3 guidance, even in Phase 2. Protocols must be followed.

Larger outdoor venues can have 25 percent capacity with a max of 9,000 people sitting in pods. Small venues can offer 50 percent capacity and a max of 400 people.

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Indoor venues are a little more restricted with 25 percent capacity and a max of 200 people. Pods of five will be required and you will have to wear a mask.

The governor’s office and the State Department of Health will look at all of the data on Monday for each county.

We’re expecting an announcement Tuesday, explaining which counties are headed back to Phase 2. That would go into effect on Friday.

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