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Gov. Pritzker announces new guidelines for organized sports in Illinois

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CHICAGO (HOI) -- Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday youth and adult organized sports in Illinois, except professional and college leagues, will be restricted moving forward.

The new guidelines set forth by the state will affect the Illinois High School Association and the Illinois Elementary School Association, as well as park district sports programs.

The IESA already canceled its fall sports season in July.

A decision by the IHSA is expected later Wednesday.

Different sports are placed into separate categories on a risk level -- high, medium, lower. A full list of sports categories can be found here.

Football has been placed in the higher-risk category, along with wrestling and lacrosse, while basketball and volleyball are placed in the medium-risk category.

"This guidance takes effect Saturday, August 15. Based on current conditions, lower risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and higher risk sports can be played at level 1," according to a release by Pritzker's administration.

According to the state of Illinois' COVID-19 response website:

"The guidance was developed in coordination with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois State Board of Education. The newly released guidance categorizes sports into three risk levels, low, medium, or high, based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play. The guidance sets four levels of play allowed based on current public health conditions. In level 1, only no-contact practices are allowed and they must be outside. In level 2, indoor and outdoor practices and intra-team scrimmages are allowed but there can be no competitive play. In level 3 intra-conference, intra-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports only. In level 4, tournaments, out-of-conference play, and out-of-state play are allowed. State championship games would also be allowed in level 4. Beginning Saturday August 15th, low risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and high-risk sports can be played at level 1. Please see the guidance for youth and adult recreational sports document for more detailed information."

“I know our hearts break when we hear the word ‘restrictions,’ especially when it comes to our children’s love for their sports. Whether this year is their first time on the court or it’s their senior season – this isn’t the news anyone wants to hear,” Pritzker said in a statement. “But with rising rates of spread of the virus, with rising positivity rates throughout Illinois and the United States, this is a situation where the toughest choice is also the safest one. Therefore today, my administration is releasing new guidance restricting youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois. We have worked in consultation with the governing bodies of many of these organized sports programs, and collectively we hope that, when metrics and risks improve measurably, we will be able to restart these sports.”

This story will be updated.

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