Restrictions rolled back on youth sports, allowing more tournaments, travel

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- Further loosening restrictions on youth and adult recreational sports, the California Department of Public Health updated its guidelines on travel and spectators Tuesday.

Before the change, recreational and high school sports teams were only allowed to travel to counties directly adjacent to them, restricting the ability to travel to tournaments or even play teams from other parts of the region.

Now, teams can travel anywhere in the state as long as they are playing against another team from California.

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Rules on spectators have also been adjusted. Now, outdoor youth sports will follow the same guidelines for spectators as other live events and performances which have capacity limits depending on the county's tier.

"I'm doing a lot better being able to see my teammates and classmates," said 6th grader Anna Motes who plays for Exceleration Volleyball in Martinez.

For indoor sports, spectators will be limited to immediate family members.

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"We definitely get a lot of energy with the parents cheering," said 14-year-old Ranessa Rualo. "It's a little harder without all the energy the parents bring."

Her team has gone through several periods in which they have been unable to practice due to COVID-19 restrictions. They have been able to practice since late January, but competitions have been limited.

"I'm hoping we get more tournaments and playing time, we haven't gotten much of that," said Motes.

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Coach, parent and owner of Exceleration Jeremy Swann says he hopes the changing regulations will also allow them to compete more, though many of the major tournaments have already been canceled or postponed.

"There's going to be a little scramble to see where we can play and hopefully fill in a tournament day here and there," said Swann.

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