Play Ball: NY Clears Low-Risk Youth Sports for Fall Games

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says lower-risk youth sports like tennis, field hockey and swimming can resume Sept. 21, 11 days after planned NYC school start. Schools can't travel or play out of their regions until Oct. 19

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A handful of youth sports were cleared for play in all regions of New York state on Monday as school districts prepare to restart academic years and health officials tout record low virus positivity rates.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the OK to resume play for sports like tennis, soccer, cross county, field hockey and swimming -- all considered lower-risk by the state. Teams can begin play Sept. 21.

Young athletes must play within their school's region, the governor added. No travel practice or play is permitted outside of the school's region until Oct. 19. Full-contact youth sports like football and wrestling will wait longer to resume games but practices may continue.

All athletic play must follow the Department of Health's issued guidance, Cuomo reiterated Monday.

The governor cited the state's ongoing progress against COVID-19 in his decision. Right now, New York is in the midst of a 17-day streak with daily COVID test positivity rates of 1 percent or lower, Cuomo said.

However, youth sports unaffiliated in schools are still having a tough time getting any practice or playing time in NYC because the city's Parks Department is not issuing permits for fields still.

While Gov. Cuomo gave the go ahead for some high school sports to start up after the school year begins, youth sports leagues have not been able to restart because they can't get permits for fields in city parks. NBC New York's Rana Novini reports.

"Our fields remain open for first-come, first-serve socially distanced play — baseball, softball and Little League teams can play or practice on any open field," the department said in a statement. "As this public health crisis is ever-evolving, we will continue to reassess our ability to issue permits later in the fall."

The Parks Department said that as of now, they were not issuing fall athletic field permits.

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