Gov. Hutchinson announces Arkansas team sports will return on June 1st

Gov. Hutchinson announces Arkansas team sports will return on June 1st
Governor Asa Hutchinson met the media Thursday afternoon for his daily COVID-19 update. (Source: Arkansas Department of Health)
Governor Hutchinson announces Arkansas team sports will return on June 1st

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Governor Asa Hutchinson’s announcement means we’re getting closer to games once again.

This directive takes effect for high schools along with youth sports.

Starting June 1st, close contact sports like football, basketball, and soccer can train with limited groups and proper social distancing.

Coaches and athletes must be screened health wise before any activity, equipment will have to be sanitized frequently.

What defines limited groups?

“The short answer is it really depends on the setting,” said Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith. “If athletes are training in a gym, they’re going to need to follow the directives that we have already put out on gyms. And that’s referenced in this new directive. If they’re outside, certainly the number can be quite a bit more as long as you can spread people out. In terms of spectators, they’re going to have to follow the directives for large outdoor venues.”

Baseball and softball are some of the first sports that will be allowed to play games on Monday, June 1st.

“And yes, when it comes to baseball, lets play ball this summer,” added Governor Asa Hutchinson. “It’s going to be a little bit different, though we wanted to put the protocols in place so that our young people can have that experience again in this type of what we would call a non-contact team sport. And we can revisit some of those contact sports after June 30th or before. We will see where we are as a state to address that.”

So we’ll have Opening Day soon at Joe Mack and at the Southside Softball Complex. Coordinator Karla Marroquin is thrilled with Thursday’s news. “I am beyond excited that we are able to start playing,” she said. "And I think everybody is excited too. I know it’s been rough, with high school being canceled and youth tournaments being cancelled. I think just excited is just the biggest feeling for all this. Teams have been trying to get used to the rules and regulations that we have put in place. Practices have actually went very well. We are getting a lot of requests for practices, we had a full day Tuesday.

The 39th Mountain Dew Grand Slam Classic was originally scheduled for the end of this month. The oldest youth softball tournament in Arkansas will now be played on August 7th through the 9th.

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