Montgomery County, Maryland, will expand access to its athletic fields to allow the return of youth and adult games in “low- and medium-risk” sports in groups of 50 people or fewer starting Sept. 1.
Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, said in a statement that fields at regional and recreational parks will be able to reopen and host games.
Fields at local parks are already open, and will be available for competitive games as well.
Montgomery Parks manages 424 parks, consisting of nearly 37,000 acres of parkland.
Games and tournaments were canceled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Low-risk sports that will be able to return as part of the new arrangement include baseball, track and swimming. A list of all the sports and their ranking being allowed to return is on the county’s website.
Two medium-risk sports, soccer and flag football, will be allowed to restart playing competitively once the county moves into a Phase 3 reopening.
In the meantime, players may continue practices that include “skills-building and drills” only. Scrimmages and games are not permitted.
High-risk sports, such as tackle football, basketball and rugby are not permitted at this time.
“We recognize that people are eager to get back out on the fields for games, and we are pleased to be able to offer that opportunity now, with the understanding that the health and safety of park patrons and staff is our first priority,” said Director of Montgomery Parks Mike Riley.
All staff and field users must follow state and county guidelines for social distancing and face covering, as well as guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Stand-alone restrooms will be open at regional and recreational fields, while some local fields may have portable toilets.
All athletic fields, including local and regional park athletic fields, and athletic fields at schools, are available for a permit for the fall season through ActiveMontgomery or by emailing CUPF@montgomerycoutymd.gov.
Permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
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