It’s Game on for Orange County Athletes, Who Are Permitted to Play Again

February 25, 2021 Updated: February 25, 2021

Outdoor sports competitions can resume in Orange County on Feb. 26, following a nearly year-long athletic shutdown, said officials.

“As a strong supporter of youth sports, I’m very happy to see that students can compete in sports again,” Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee said in a statement. “Our children deserve to return to a sense of normalcy and allowing youth sports to resume is an important step in achieving that goal.”

The news follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised guidelines that allow sports to resume in counties with a daily average of 14 new cases or fewer per 100,000 residents.

Orange County’s positive case rate was 11.9 per 100,000 as of Feb. 23, dropping significantly from last week’s 20.7 per 100,000.

Supervisor Andrew Do credited the community’s diligence with bringing the numbers down.

“Per the State’s guidance, this means certain outdoor sport competitions can resume once again. Something that many families have been looking forward to for months now,” Do said in a statement.

The state’s guidance applies to all organized youth and adult sports, including school and community-sponsored programs and privately organized clubs and leagues.

Competitions in Orange County will resume with modifications, including testing requirements for those participating in certain high-contact sports. Moderate-contact sports, such as baseball and cheerleading, can continue without the testing component.

Supervisor Don Wagner applauded the move.

“It’s a small and overdue step,” Wagner said in a release. “Society will be healthier if children can engage in outdoor activities. Competition for our kids is critical to them developing and testing their skills fully, both physical and emotional.”

Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s chief health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, told the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 23 that Orange County will be among the first to allow full-contact youth sports.

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said she, too, was pleased with the news.

“I am very excited that our youth, who have been anxiously waiting for months to get back to competitive sports, now have the opportunity to compete,” Bartlett said in a statement. “I have always been a strong supporter of exploring all options that would allow our youth to safely resume outdoor sporting activities.”