The thud of a mitt and the crack of the bat may soon be returning to area ballparks.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced guidelines for the resumption of youth baseball and softball in his Monday afternoon briefing. Sports in Nebraska of all levels have been shut down since the conclusion of the boys high school state tournament in mid-March.
Ricketts said practice can begin on June 1 and the first contests held June 18 though with several steps in place to ensure safety.
"We really want to step in this slowly so we can see how this works," Ricketts said. "We want to take this a step at a time to see how we can roll this out."
Guidelines include only players and coaches at practice and no usage of the dugouts.
Other guidelines include:
* Players' items should be lined up against the fence at least 6 feet apart.
* Players should use their own gloves, helmets and bats as much as possible.
* Postgame handshakes or interaction between teams are prohibited.
* Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each practice.
* Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume during and after practices and games. Sharing of snacks will be prohibited.
* Concession stands will remain closed.
Other sports remain closed for the time being. Baseball and softball were chosen to open first because of the limited contact involved in the playing of the two sports.
Schools will also be allowed to open their weight rooms for summer training so long as the guidelines for private gyms and health clubs are followed.
The announcement is, of course, subject to local conditions.
Once the June 18 date arrives for games, only household members of players will be allowed to attend. They will not be allowed in the bleachers but must bring their own chairs. Teams waiting to play will stay in a designated area before their game time arrives. Parents of those players must wait in their cars until the team enters the dugout.
Dugouts are allowed during games though players will be separated either in the dugout or bleachers next to the dugout. Stipulations for where equipment can be kept and all other measures about not sharing drinks will remain in place. Dugouts and bleachers must be sanitized before the next game.
This is a developing story. Stay with the Banner-Press for updates on how youth sports will be reopened in David City.
Reach The Telegram sports staff at DVDsports@lee.net
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