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By Zach Cavanagh

Youth sports finally received the go-ahead to restart practices on Monday, June 15.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors announced that practices for youth sports will reopen under the same COVID-19 state guidance as day camps.

The state guidance and county allowance will only permit youth sports to resume practicing. The state has not provided a set time in which sporting events or games with spectators could resume.

“Orange County residents understand the severe impacts that COVID-19 has on our residents, but these issues can be mitigated by following state guidelines,” Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said. “By allowing youth sports practices to resume in a safe manner, it allows Orange County children to enjoy time with their peers and have a little bit of normalcy at this time.”

The state guidance for reopening of day camps, which went into effect on Friday, June 12, instructs the promotion of healthy hygiene practices, intensified cleaning and disinfection, implementation of physical distancing and proper training for all staff and families.

The state guidance does not explicitly state a number for the limit on participants, only limiting the number of persons in the camp to one that can appropriately maintain physical distancing.

The San Juan Capistrano Little League, which also serves Dana Point and Capistrano Beach, is still working on getting its season going. According to SJCLL president Brett Vermeulen, field availability is the league’s main issue to any sort of return right now.

San Clemente Surf Soccer Club Director of Coaching Chris Murray said the club’s younger teams will return to day camps in San Juan Capistrano next week with proper safety protocols in place, which include a maximum of 11 players, no-contact drills, players six feet apart and coaches wearing masks.

Murray, who is also the San Juan Hills boys soccer coach, said the club’s older teams are waiting for word back from the City of San Clemente, which is not issuing permits currently but working on a plan similar to the younger teams.

“We are in no rush to play games, particularly out of town” Murray said, “but (we) are excited to return to train in some capacity as it builds all our mental and physical health to be back outdoors.”

If any other youth sports leagues are returning to practices and camps, please send information to zcavanagh@picketfencemedia.com.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at zcavanagh@picketfencemedia.com.

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