Vermont winter sport athletes finally received some good news on Tuesday.
Gov. Phil Scott announced during a press conference that starting Saturday, school-based and youth recreational programs may begin practices with individual skills, strength and conditioning.
“I’m grateful for the work Vermonters have done to level out the number of cases and to start to see a decrease. I believe these are the right steps at this time,” Scott said.
The high school winter sports season — which was originally slated to begin practicing Nov. 30 — has yet to begin after Scott announced the initial delay to the season on Nov. 24.
No contact between athletes is permitted at this time, and physically distanced and masking are required during all times.
Vermonters may resume outdoor activities with those outside their household as long as physical distancing, masking and other safety precautions are followed.
These activities include cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
While these activities were given the green light, Scott stressed the importance of not socializing after the activity.
“You’ve got to follow the ‘arrive, play and leave’ approach, meaning mingling afterwards is not allowed,” Scott said.
Adult recreational sports and spectators at sporting events remain suspended at this time.
Mount Anthony boys basketball coach Marcus Hass said MAU is set to start its winter sports season “after the holiday break.”
Hass said his team will focus on a lot of skill building drills while the no-contact rule remains is in place. Hass said he still has some research to do to incorporate individual skill building activities.
The Patriot coach said that student athletes haven’t been able to get into the gym in awhile, so Tuesday’s news brings some hope for the opportunity to play this winter.
It is not immediately clear when Burr and Burton will begin its winter sports season. BBA athletic director Dave Miceli were not available for comment Tuesday afternoon.
While allowing sports to once again begin in some capacity is a step in the right direction, Scott wants Vermonters to remain cautious.
“It’s important to remember that the gains we’ve made are fragile and we’ll only hold them steady if we remain smart,” Scott said.