ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Finding a way to responsibly return to sports and recreation-based activities in Alaska is the question a newly formed Sports and Recreation COVID-19 advisory council is trying to answer, and like many questions surrounding the coronavirus, the solution isn’t simple.
The 27 person group represents business owners, coaches, youth sports organizers, outdoor guides, and facility managers where sports take place. The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Director Harlow Robinson felt without a good plan the default is canceling sports or proceeding in a less safe way, and that’s why he brought the group together.
“I started organizing a group of people that represent sports and recreation across a broad spectrum. They’ve embraced us with open arms. So far it’s been a good process,” said Robinson. “Our goal is to find a place youth, adults, teams, individuals, can have a semblance of normal and still be safe.”
The group's main focus has been community events, facilities, fitness centers, organized sports, and guided recreation. They've worked alongside state health officials to provide recommendations for recent mandates.
“Showing some real common sense ways, when I talk about common sense I’m talking about social distancing, managing crowd sizes, there are some common sense things we can do to mitigate risk,” explained Robinson.
The Governor’s recent phase two of reopening Alaska shared an outline of how organized sports, activities, and guided recreation can return. It requires sports organizations and the facilities they use to provide a mitigation plan, attendance plans, and health status screenings. The gatherings are suggested to follow state and city mandates. It also touches on race-type events being broken down into smaller wave starts, with clear start time assignments, and ensure group size remains below the current state mandate.
“This is a framework for organizations that put together rec leagues, Anchorage Sports Association, Alaska Softball, Little League, and youth soccer organizations to work with their facilities,” shared Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, during Governor Dunleavy's news conference on Monday. “We look forward to groups opening up over the summer safely.”
While mandates are in place from a state-level, Robinson encourages patience as the group continues to work through details and dates on when exactly teams, groups, and facilities will return.
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