Governor Gretchen Whitmer along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that contact sports may resume as of Monday, Feb. 8, provided masks are worn during practices and competition.

According to the updated order, if masks cannot be worn, participants must be regularly tested for COVID-19 consistent with guidelines issued by MDHHS. Participants need to maintain six feet of distance when not actively engaged in play and wear face masks at all times. Spectators are allowed with up to 250 people in stadiums that seat less than 10,000 and up to 500 people at venues that seat over 10,000 people. The order is in effect through March 29.

Wood TV 8 reports that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a press conference Thursday afternoon,

“Our (coronavirus) numbers are now in a place where we can allow our kids to get back in the game with their coaches and teammates."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a release,

“We continue to make progress in reducing cases and hospitalizations, helping protect our families and frontline workers and saving lives. Now, starting February 8, contact sports can resume with safety measures in place. Michigan continues to be a national leader in fighting this virus, and we must continue using a fact-based approach so we can return to a strong economy and normal day-to-day activities. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you. And as always, mask up and maintain six feet of social distancing. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus so we can end this pandemic together.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS said,

“We are pleased at our continued progress in Michigan that has allowed us to take this step forward in a phased approach. As a parent and former student-athlete myself, I get how important athletics are to our children’s physical and mental health. However, parents and athletes need to understand the risk involved with contact sports if they choose to participate. Sports that require frequent closeness between players make it more difficult to prevent disease transmission even when mitigation measures are in place, including masks. Even when not required, we urge teams to implement a testing program to protect athletes, coaches and their families.”

Michigan.gov

The ban on contact sports had previously been in place through Feb. 21. The announcement today comes after protests from parents, students, coaches and others, and a lawsuit filed by Let Them Play Michigan against MDHHS.

Included in the order, indoor residential and non-residential gatherings continue to be limited to 10 people and two households. The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause activities at water parks and  nightclubs.

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