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Phase III Guidelines

EEA – Outdoors and recreation

Outdoor Recreation Reopening Operating Principals

  • Access to the outdoors for the public is an essential service, especially during the summer. Goal of reopen plan for outdoors and recreation is to allow as much access as possible, in a safe way, with many opportunities for low risk activities
  • DPH guidelines regarding social distancing, gathering size, masks and cleaning protocols to be implemented as relevant across each activity
  • Many of outdoors activities are also a major economic driver for communities throughout

Massachusetts. Timing matters because many activities are seasonal

  • Outdoor recreation guidance will apply to municipal, non-profit and business venues
  • Strong coordination with childcare, retail, venue decisions

Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities

Specific Activity

Phase I

Phase II

Phase III, Step 1

Phase III,

Step 2



v Facilities Closed to the public for active recreation but operators are allowed to prepare their respective facilities and train staff to achieve compliance with Phase II.

Facilities Open to Adults & Youth Sports 

v Outdoor Facilities Open for adults and youth sports with limitations while adhering to assemblage and capacity guidance.

v Limited sports activity allowed; no-contact sports practice allowed; this does NOT include games and tournaments.

v Spectators limited and must socially distance.

Expansion of Activity

v Sports activities expanded based on each sport’s “risk level” and the “level of play.” (see next 2 slides).

v Group size: maximum of 25 players or participants on a single playing surface/area/court for team/group sports.

v Spectators: Must socially distance and wear face coverings. No spectators allowed for sports/activities played by individuals 18 years old and older.




v Facilities Closed to the public but operators are allowed to prepare their respective facilities and train staff to achieve compliance with Phase II

Some Facilities Open to Supervised Youth Sports

v Certain Indoor Facilities Open (see guidance) with limitations and only for supervised sports programs, including sports camps, for youths under the age of 18

v Group size and social distancing restrictions in place: Limited to no more than 10 persons including a coach/instructor on each court, playing surface or playing area. More than one group allowed for large areas if separated by 20 feet.

v Limited sports activity allowed; this does NOT include games, scrimmages and tournaments.

Expansion of Activity

Same restrictions as outdoor sports, plus:

v Facility capacity restricted to 40%.

v Spectators: limited to 1 per player under 18 years old provided that facility has the capacity and space for spectators to socially distance. No additional spectators.

v Locker rooms: may open at 50% capacity



Levels of Risk by Sport/Activity

Lower Risk

Sports that can be done with social distancing OR individually

Examples: batting cages, tennis, pickleball, swimming, catch, disc golf, golf, individual biking, surfing, horseback riding, individual sailing, fishing, hunting, motor sports, yoga & no contact exercise classes, gymnastics 

Moderate Risk

•Sports or activities that involve intermittent contact, but with protective equipment or mitigating measures in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between participants (e.g., wearing masks, modifying play)

Examples: Baseball, softball, crew/sailing (2-3 people in a boat), track and field, cross country, running clubs, team swimming, volleyball, dance class, fencing, field hockey, no- contact lacrosse

Higher Risk

Sports that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.

Examples: Football, wrestling, soccer, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, ice-hockey, competitive cheer, martial arts, crew/sailing (more than 3 people in a boat), ultimate frisbee

Phase III – Sequencing for Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities


Step One

Step Two

Level 1:

Individual or socially distanced group activities

All sports

All sports

Level 2:

Competitive practices

(Intra-team games, contact drills and scrimmages)

Lower risk

(e.g. tennis, swimming)

Moderate risk

(e.g. baseball, track & field)


Level 3:


(Inter-team games, meets, matches, races)

Lower risk

(e.g. tennis, swimming)

Moderate risk

(e.g. baseball, track & field)


Level 4:


Lower risk

(e.g. tennis, swimming)