Updated Sports Guidance Summary

This is a summary of the updates to the Connecticut public health guidance and reopening rules regarding organized sports and other athletic activities. Please note that beginning on January 19, 2021, the Team Sports on Pause will no longer be effective. These rules are subject to the continued stability in COVID-19 metrics. Athletes, coaches, and businesses should continue to regularly monitor the latest Department of Public Health (DPH) Guidance and Sector Rules for Reopening.

This guidance applies to the 2021 winter sports season (Jan. 19 – Mar. 15). Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic, this guidance may be revised prior to the end of the season. DPH and DECD will continue to monitor pandemic metrics and will issue updated guidance for the spring sports season on or before March 1, 2021. 

General Guidance

  • Low and Moderate Risk sports (basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming, etc.):
    • Practices can begin on January 19, 2021
    • Competitions can begin February 1, 2021


  • Masks are required in Gyms, Fitness Centers, and during Indoor and Outdoor Sports by all participants, spectators, and coaches at all times, including active play.
    • However. where the nature of play is such that two or more athletes would not be expected to have any close contact (i.e., tennis singles, individual running on a track, etc.), athletes are not required to wear face coverings during the activity, although masks are still strongly encouraged (face coverings should still be worn at all times by individuals not engaged in the activity).
  • Youth athletic events shall not exceed 25% capacity, capped at 200 spectators. Adult club/recreational sports, with participants who are aged 21 years and older, shall not have spectators.
  • League organizers and teams must cooperate with contact tracing efforts by state and local health officials. If league organizers and teams fail to cooperate, state or local health officials may discontinue a team or league’s sports activities.

What is prohibited:

  • Participation in High Risk Sports, except competitive dance and cheerleading (other than conditioning/non-contact drills).
  • Participation in any out-of-state tournaments.
  • Large, traditional multi-school/multi-team (more than two) sporting events.
  • In-person road races should be postponed until March 1, 2021, subject to COVID-19 metrics.

What is allowed:

  • Competitive Dance and Cheerleading beginning on February 19, 2021.
  • Interstate sports competitions beginning on March 1.
  • Practices for Moderate and Lower risk sports, beginning no earlier than January 19, 2021. This includes group aerobic conditioning, sport-specific non-contact skill development drills, team practices and/or intra-squad scrimmages.
  • In-state competition of interscholastic, club and recreation Moderate and Lower risk sports, beginning no earlier than February 1, 2021, subject to the continued stability of COVID-19 metrics.
  • Outdoor Recreational Activities (subject to the Sector Rules for Reopening)
  • School Physical Education Classes (subject to State Department of Education Guidance)
  • Gyms, Group Fitness Classes, Dance Studios, Yoga, Martial Arts Instruction, etc.
  • Pools
    • Recreational lap swimming is limited to one person per lane unless swimmers are from the same household, or a swimmer with special needs requires a paraprofessional in the same lane with them. Lanes must be a minimum of 6 ft wide. Advance registration for recreational lap swimming is encouraged.
    • Swim teams can have up to 4 swimmers per lane during practice and pre-match warm up periods, provided:
      • Cohorts consisting of up to 4 swimmers that will use the same lane at the same time are constant throughout the entire season.
      • Swimmers are engaged in continuous swimming while using the same lane (i.e. the group isn’t gathered at one end of the lane without masks during break periods or to receive coaching).
      • Swimmers remain maximally spaced to the extent possible during active swimming (i.e. pair swimmers of similar skill level/speed to the extent possible).
    • Pool deck observers are discouraged. If parent/guardians are necessary, only one per swimmer is allowed, they must wear a mask, and remain at least 6 ft apart.
    • For swim lessons, students should be instructed in the water one-on-one with the swim instructor and should remain out of the water, standing or seated on the pool deck with a mask in place and separated by 6 ft or more distance while they wait for their turn with the instructor. While this process is encouraged for all age and skill levels, for beginner swim lessons (children 5 yrs or younger) where controlling the attention and movement of students may be difficult, students can remain in the water or seated on the edge of the pool for the duration of the lesson period without masks, provided that:
          • The size of the class group is limited to 4 or fewer participants
          • Students remain separated by 6 ft or more at all times
          • Appropriate spacing is clearly marked and understandable by students (i.e. cones or dots rather than a worded sign)
          • Students keep masks in place prior to the beginning and immediately after the end of the lesson period
    • Swim aerobic participants should maintain distance of 12 ft throughout class or utilize every other lane.
    • First Responder Lifeguard Certification
      • Classroom portions of the certification process should be conducted either virtually (preferred) or if conducted in-person, should include seat spacing of at least 6 feet between participants and masks (that completely cover the nose and mouth) worn at all times.
      • Instructors should “pair” participants together for the purposes of practical (hands-on) training activities that require two participants to be in close contact (e.g. team CPR, rescue activities, etc.).  Participant pairings should be constant throughout the duration of the certification course.  For practical training activities that require more than 2 participants (e.g. deep water rescue, back boarding, etc.) pairings may be combined to form a group of 4 (maximum), and those combined pairing should also be kept constant.  The same combined pairing (4 participants) should be maintained for shared-lane lap swimming.
      • “Dry land” training activities (i.e. occurring on a pool deck area) should maintain 6 ft. spacing between participants and masks should be worn at all times.  Group “dry land” training activities should be performed with as few group members as required to safely complete the activity (up to 4 max.) and close contact should be time-limited to the extent possible.
      • Masks should not be worn during “in-water” training activities.  Group “in-water” training activities should be performed with as few group members as required to safely complete the activity (up to 4 max.) and close contact should be time-limited to the extent possible.