Sports Guidance

This information is to assist our community and schools on sports activities allowed within our counties. Guidance is issued from the Governor's office and the Washington State Department of Health.

Whether or not a sport is allowed, and to what degree it is allowed, depends on a combination of the risk category for the sport and the COVID risk category for the county in which the sport is to take place. Tournaments and spectators are prohibited in any county that is not in the low risk COVID category.

Benton and Franklin Counties are in Phase 2 of the Washington Safe Start Plan. As of Oct. 27, 2020, Benton and Franklin counties are in the HIGH COVID-19 Risk Category (>75 cases per 100K people over 14 days). Today's COVID-19 risk category level (14-day Case Rate) by county can be found on the Recovery Status and Metrics page.

For this purpose of this guidance, sport risks are defined as (this list is not all inclusive):

Tennis, swimming and diving, golf, cross country, track and field, and sideline/no-contact cheerleading and dance.

Softball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and bowling.

Football, wrestling, cheerleading with contact, dance with contact, and basketball.

This memo from the Governor's office explains the changes made to Proclamations 20-25 and supersedes previous guidance. New guidance is listed below.

School-Based Sports and Activities

On Oct. 6, 2020, t
he Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Health issued new guidance for returning to education-based sports and activities, using the statistical benchmarks of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in a given county as well as the percentage of positive tests.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIIA) has used this guidance to develop new general, as well as sport-specific, return-to-play guidelines. The Governor’s office has informed the WIAA that these guidelines must be followed and neither schools nor community sports programs have the authority to implement more lenient policies.

These revised guidelines give greater flexibility to school administrators to offer education-based athletics and activities and meet the demand of their students and communities. County benchmarks will be used to determine which sports or activities are recommended to take place based on COVID-19 activity in the county. These benchmarks mirror those issued by the Department of Health to aid schools in their decision-making process for models of in-person/remote learning.

Guidelines for Education Based Sports & Activities can be found on the WIIA Return to Play Guidelines page.

Youth and Adult Recreational Activities

Youth team sports and adult team sport guidance greatly expanded in early October. The guidance issued by the Governor's office includes youth team sports (both school and non-school sports), both indoor and outdoor. Adult recreational sports now includes both indoor and outdoor.

Included in the Safe Start Professional Sports and Other Sporting Activities is:

  • Professional sporting activities indoor and outdoor
  • School and non-school youth team sports indoor and outdoor
  •  Adult recreational team sports indoor and outdoor

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the new sports guidance.

Specific guidance has also been adopted for these areas: