File photo/Kerensa Uyeta-Buckley

With the new guidelines released Feb. 19 by Governor Gavin Newson and the California Department of Public Health, outdoor sports have the go-head to play in red or purple tiers if case numbers are limited to 14 or less per 100,000 people.

Granting the wishes of thousands of youth athletes across the state, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that outdoor sports will be able to be played in the red and purple tiers starting on Feb. 26 as long as COVID-19 case rates are at 14 or less per 100,000 people.

The Feb. 19 announcement means that outdoor high-contact sports like football, boys’ lacrosse, soccer and water polo can be played in the red or purple tiers as long as the criteria is met.

For local teams, the announcement is one they’ve been waiting to hear.

“While these new updates only address the outdoor sports, it is certainly a step in a positive direction to getting our student-athletes out and participating in athletics. There is still more work to be done for our indoor sports and we continue to advocate to get them out as well,” CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner Michael Garrison wrote in a letter to high school principals and athletic directors on Feb. 19.

Other conditions that need to be met for high-contact outdoor athletes are weekly testing (which will be funded by the state) for football and water polo players and coaches and informed consent.

Outdoor moderate-contact sports, including baseball, field hockey, girls’ lacrosse and softball, can be played with informed consent and recommended safety precautions such as sanitation and physical distancing.

The CIF noted that the day of the announcement, six counties, including Amador, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne and Yolo, would be able to play high-contact and moderate outdoor sports.

According to the Sac-Joaquin Section, all teams need to practice for five days before they can compete and football teams need to practice for 14 days before they can play their first game.