OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As some things are starting to reopen, youth sports are still unable to practice due to a directed health measure in place, through May 31, from Gov. Pete Ricketts.
It’s confusing many people; you see people allowed out on the tennis courts, yet teams cannot practice.
“There are no organized team sports activities during the month of May,” Gov. Ricketts said. “There has been some confusion out there about that, obviously if there’s businesses out there that sell membership and they bring somebody in to do coaching that is different, but no organized team sports in the month of May.”
Private coaching is allowed as long as it's not organized by the team or coach and includes 10 or fewer people. Some coaches don't think that’s fair.
“Tons and tons of calls we are getting from coaches saying they’re going to go ahead and do it,” said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. “And I just want to tell these coaches that number one please set a good example for these students. Secondly, you are putting these youth, these athletes in risk.”
She said it doesn’t matter if it’s a city field or a private field. The directed health measure still applies.
The directed health measure states: "All organized team sports, youth and adult, including but not limited to club sports are hereby suspended."
Marcus Kelcher said he doesn't want to put his athletes from Elite Girls Academy at risk; they’ve been practicing virtually.
“Weekly Zoom meetings with the players, weekly workouts that have physical and technical things that the players need to be focused on,” said Kelcher, the Technical Director at Elite Girls Academy.
He said we're all anxious to get back out on the fields as a team like normal, but we have to do our part.
“What would they do if, unfortunately, the kids were to get sick?” Kelcher said. “Obviously, that’s something nobody wants and I’m not one to pass judgment on ones doing something that we’re not doing. But from our own standpoint we’re fully committed to doing what we have to do to develop our players virtually.”
“You get a whole team on a field with a coach, they don’t have good bathroom facilities, they can’t wash their hands, they’re not wearing masks,” Stothert said. “This is just a Petri dish where that virus could spread and we don’t want that happening.”
It's a directed health measure enforceable by law, she says. Anyone caught not following the directed health measure can be ticketed.
Westside Superintendent Mike Lucas said on Twitter, “We have now been forced to hire a uniformed security guard to help monitor activity at WHS athletic facilities. Again, we want people to be able to come up and walk and exercise in a safe social distancing manner. We appreciate the way our students and patrons are using the facilities. We need visitors to do the right thing as well. The uniformed security guard is prepared to issue citations to those that want to play 7 on 7 football games, soccer matches, etc., that are NOT safe during the current social distancing guidelines.”
“Once the Governor opens things up for us to do from an in person stand point we will be ready for that as well. We are strategically planning for that time,” Kelcher said.
For now, fields should be clear of teams through May 31st.