Governor announces some sports teams, and summer camps can reopen with restrictions

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FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2018 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting in Washington. Arkansas lawmakers have sent the governor legislation banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, a prohibition that could be the strictest in the country. The House on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, gave final approval by an 86-1 vote to the bill, which Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he supports. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Although the state saw its biggest jump in cases today, Governor Asa Hutchinson gave the okay to some sports teams and summer camps across the Natural State.

People will get a chance to participate in sports again but things will look a lot different. There are several restrictions in place. Anyone who is 10-years-old or older will have to wear a mask.

Team practice and competitions are still not allowed for close contact sports like basketball, wrestling, football, volleyball, soccer, and martial arts.

The Governor did say the following is allowed starting June 1:

  • People can have individual practice with their own equipment
  • Conditioning/Training with limited group sizes and social distancing
  • Cheer-leading and dance practice under gym directive restrictions

Governor Hutchinson also listed the sports that are allowed, with limited contact. Those are baseball, softball, track, gymnastics, and swimming.

Although those sports are allowed they want to remind folks to still social distance when possible. Use your own equipment, disinfect anything that is shared and they are encouraging anyone who is 65 or older not to participate in any activities.

We did talk with Carter Stein and his son about Junior Deputy, a non-profit baseball park that had more than 870 kids sign up for spring baseball.

“We are so thankful for this opportunity. So we think we have to figure out the safety implications first and then we need to talk to our parents, community partners, and figure out their interest level in the summer season, and then once we do that we can work out a schedule,” said Stein.

“I feel like I’ll be able to get outside and be more active,” said Charlie, the son of Carter Stein.

Stein says they had a board meeting tonight about how they can open and sill follow those directives. They’ve been put on hold since mid-March.

Sports aren’t the only big announcement that was made. Governor Hutchinson also gave the green light for overnight summer camps to open at the end of this month, but with new safety measures.

According to state leaders, overnight camp counselors can arrive no sooner than May 24 and campers no sooner than May 31.

Here is a list of some of the directives from the Department of Health:

  • They recommend a 14-day self-quarantine before coming to camp
  • All staff and campers that are 10 or older should wear cloth face coverings
  • They’re discouraging camps from using volunteers
  • Don’t allow sick children to be cared for inside camp facilities
  • Maintain social distancing as much as possible

We spoke with Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock who says they will not open because they aren’t equipped to meet all of the new requirements for overnight camps.

Instead of in-person, they will offer a virtual camp experience for families who are interested. CEO Sonya Murphy says it’s not ideal but this is the safest way for them to still have a personal approach to interacting with everyone.

“Many of our children are medically fragile and comprised and so we just did not feel like it was worth to put that kind of risk in place,” said Murphy.

We also heard back from 4H Camp in Little Rock who says they will also not open and will assess the situation again after June 30.

Lastly, Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center told us they are still looking at the directives to determine if they are able and how they can open and operate safely.

The camps we talked with say this is not an easy decision for them to make.

Click here for a full list of rules and regulations for camps.

Click here for a full list of rules and regulations for sports.

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