COVID-19 Safety Guidelines & Protocols

According to the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Guidelines, baseball and softball are considered outdoor moderate-contact team sports, which can be played with only incidental or intermittent close contact between participants.  The guidance applies to all organized youth sports and recreation— including school and community-sponsored programs, and privately-organized clubs and leagues.

 

As of Tuesday, February 23, competitive baseball and softball is now considered safe since the county has reached less than 14 new cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa per day per 100,000 residents averaged over the previous 7 days and when played with the following guidelines and protocols. The most recent CDPH guidelines take effect on Friday, February 26. Thus, the league may commence the 2021 season, including scrimmages and competitive games. Practice activities and conditioning were already allowed under the previous guidelines.

 

In adherence with the state’s COVID-19 guidelines, the league has developed the following safety guidelines and protocols for all practice and game activities.

LAST UPDATED: 23-Feb-2021

GENERAL GUIDELINES

Participants, Observers & Cohorts

Participants are defined as all players, badged coaches and umpires participating in a practice activity or game.

Observers are defined as anyone observing practice activities or games who are not considered participants.

A cohort is a stable group of no more than 14 children or youth and no more than two supervising adults in a supervised environment. The group stays together for all activities, including meals and recreation. And this group avoids contact with anyone not in their group. Players and coaches should cohort by team, and refrain from participating with more than one team over the same season or time period.

Face Coverings

Face coverings should be worn at all times by players when on the field during all practice activities and games even with heavy exertion as tolerated.

Face coverings must be worn when in the dugout or in close contact with other participants.

Face coverings must be worn by all coaches and support staff.

Face coverings must be worn by all observers.

Physical Distancing

Participants should maintain at least six feet of distance from others to the maximum extent possible.

Coaches and umpires should avoid physical contact with any players and observers.

Coaches and umpires should facilitate physical distancing between participants to the maximum extent possible.

Observers must stay at least 6 feet from non-household members and wear face coverings.

Hygiene and Equipment Sanitation

All players should perform hand hygiene through use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before play, during breaks, and after the conclusion of the practice activity or game.

Each participant shall be responsible for providing their own individual hygiene products.

Shared equipment should be cleaned and disinfected before use by another player. This applies to catcher’s masks, bats and batting helmets. It is recommended that each player have their own equipment with the exception of a catcher’s mask. Additional equipment is available and may be borrowed from the league.

Balls or other objects or equipment can be touched by multiple players and used during practice and play if the above hand hygiene practices are followed.

Drink bottles, other personal items and equipment must not be shared. Snacks and sunflower seeds shall not be permitted.

All shared equipment must be sanitized after each game.

Limitation on Observers

Participants must limit observation of practice activities and games to immediate household members, and for the strict purpose of age appropriate supervision. Limit the number of observers to ensure physical distance can be maintained and reduce potential crowding.

Exposure or Symptoms of COVID-19

Participants that have been identified as being in close contact with, or think they may have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19 need to quarantine for 10 days.

In the event of an exposure, the participant or participant’s parent or legal guardian must immediately notify the corresponding personnel as appropriate. A determination will be made when play may resume based on the CDPH guidelines both for the team and the individual player. Families of the same cohort will be notified by the league of all potential exposures.

All participants must perform a health check at home prior to any practice activities or games. Participants with symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend practice activities or games. They should consult their physician for testing and must immediately notify the corresponding personnel as appropriate.

Players shall notify their team manager.

Coaches shall notify their league commissioner.

Umpires shall notify the chief umpire and head commissioner.

PRACTICE & GAME PROTOCOLS

Health Checks & Consent

Players and coaches must record their health checks performed at home prior to any practice activities or games. These should be recorded via the TeamSnap app.

Parents or guardians must provide consent and acknowledgment of the safety protocols as part of the health check.

Batting Cages

Players and coaches must wear face coverings at all times while participating during batting cage activities. This includes waiting to bat outside the cages.

Team cohorts must physically distance themselves from other team cohorts while at the batting cages. Each team must choose a location at the benches or grassy areas around the cages and stay within that area while waiting.

Observers may not participate in batting practice.

Pre-Game Field Practice

Participants from opposing teams should refrain from socializing and maintain physical distancing throughout the game including practice activities prior to the game. The teams should split field practice equally as outlined in Rule 3.02 Pre-Game Field Practice.

Plate Meeting

Limit attendees to one coach from each team and game umpires. Participants must maintain physical distancing during the conference and refrain from handshakes.

The home team will provide two brand new game balls. Any additional balls introduced into the game must be sanitized by a coach.

Team Dugouts

Only coaches and players are permitted in the dugout.

Face coverings must be worn at all times while in the dugout except temporarily during water breaks.

Observers shall not be permitted in the dugouts and/or the immediate area of the dugout.

On the Field

Coaches and umpires must wear face coverings at all times.

The batter during an at-bat must wear face coverings while at the plate. The batter may remove the face covering after reaching any base.

Umpires must follow physical distancing protocols during any conference with other umpires and coaches.

Post-Game Procedures

Replace handshakes after the game with a physical distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing.

Socializing after games is not allowed. Team snacks must not be distributed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will there be a sign-in and questionnaire before each practice and game that asks if players have had a fever or are showing symptoms?

Yes. All players and coaches must conduct a self health check at home prior to any practice or game. This includes a temperature check.

Will coaches be responsible for taking temperatures?

No. All players and their parents or guardians are responsible for the health checks.

Will hand sanitizer be provided?

No. Each participant is responsible for providing their own hand sanitizer.

Can players be in the dugout together?

Yes, but masks must be worn at all times. If possible, players may step outside to physically distance themselves; however, we understand that this is not always possible at every field, especially with the younger leagues.

Can players share gear?

Players should refrain from sharing gear. However, if sharing is not avoidable, the gear must be sanitized between easy player’s use.

Do balls have to be sanitized throughout play?

No, not if all other hygiene sanitation protocols are followed. Two brand new game balls must be provided by the home team at the plate meeting. Additional balls introduced into the game must be sanitized prior to use.

Can parents watch and from where?

Observers will be allowed to attend practice activities and games; however, the number of observers should be limited in order to maintain proper physical distancing.

Can multiple teams practice together?

No. This would break the guidelines of maintaining cohorts. Participating in a scrimmage is OK assuming players are not being mixed amongst the teams. The point is to separate cohorts as much as possible.

Can multiple teams participate in scrimmages?

Yes. According to the new guidelines, scrimmages may commence as long as both teams are from the PHBA league and follow game day protocols.

Who is responsible for sanitizing shared equipment, specifically the catcher's mask?

The coaches are responsible for sanitizing all shared equipment.

Can parents assist in the dugout?

No parents or other observers are allowed in the dugouts at any time.

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