The guidance was developed by the Illinois
Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Illinois Department of
Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and the Illinois State
Board of Education (ISBE) following consultation with a number of
stakeholders including the Illinois High School Association (IHSA)
and the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA). The complete
guidelines are available online at the state COVID-19 website.
RESTRICTIONS ON YOUTH SPORTS - PDF
“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,” said
Governor JB Pritzker. “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.”
The newly released guidance categorizes sports into three risk
levels, lower, medium, or higher, 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
In level 1, only no-contact practices and
training are allowed.
In level 2, intra-team scrimmages are
allowed with parental consent for minors but there can be no
In level 3 intra-conference,
intra-EMS-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be
state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports
In level 4, tournaments,
out-of-conference/league play, and out-of-state play are allowed.
Championship games would also be allowed in level 4.
This guidance takes effect Saturday, August 15th.
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
Higher risk sports can be played at level 1.
[to top of second column]
“Daily physical activity is an important part of
staying healthy,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “The COVID-19
pandemic has upended many of our activities, including sports. Some
sports carry an inherently higher risk of exposure because of direct
contact, like football and wrestling, while others have a lower
risk, like golf and bowling. As we learn to coexist with COVID-19,
we must be smart and measured in how we go about it. We want to
encourage people to be physically active, but to be safe and
understand the risks that come with certain activities.”
Similar to other guidance, sports organizations should make
temperature checks available and participants and coaches should
monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and should not participate if they
are experiencing illness. If multiple individuals have symptoms or
test positive, coaches or organizations should alert the local
health department. Sports organizers or coaches also must maintain
attendance logs of participants for contact tracing purposes.
“Extracurricular activities and sports are an important part to a
well-rounded education,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr.
Carmen I. Ayala. “This guidance is not meant to be a one-size-fits
all approach and takes into account the inherent risk level of each
individual sport and current public health conditions.”
Athletic equipment such as bats and hockey sticks should be cleaned
between each use. Other equipment, including personal gear such as
hockey, football, lacrosse, or other sports using helmets, pads, or
gloves should only be used by one person and not shared.
“This latest guidance builds on our ongoing efforts to partner with
businesses, public institutions and communities across Illinois to
ensure a safe return of key activities and the reopening of our
economy,” said DCEO Acting Director, Michael Negron. “Informed by
the latest guidance by our public health officials, the updated
youth and recreation sports guidelines will allow us to partner with
recreational and competitive sports industry leaders on reducing
risk and protecting our communities. Doing so will allow us to make
not only a faster health recovery, but also a faster economic
recovery from COVID-19.”
Illinois first issued guidelines for youth and recreational sports
in late May, when every region in the state advanced to Phase 3 of
the Restore Illinois plan, marked by return to work, the reopening
of retail as well as the return of specific recreational activities.
The latest guidelines make adjustments to temporarily halt
competitive play for most higher to medium-risk sports pending
further health progress, as well as to provide additional clarity on
capacity limits and high school sports.
[Office of the Governor JB Pritzker]