Minnesota to Require Youth Hockey Players as Young as 5 to Wear Masks

Hockey
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The State of Minnesota has issued new rules for youth sports that will force all hockey players from the ages of five and up to wear masks even while playing out on the ice, reports say.

In its guidelines entitled, “COVID-19 Sports Practice Guidance for Youth and Adults,” the Minnesota Department of Health warns that the rules are set to take effect on January 4, 2021.

Starting Jan. 4, 2021, practices for organized youth and adult sports may resume. Practices cannot exceed pod sizes of more than 25. Spectators are not allowed; however, this does not prevent a parent, guardian, or support person from being present if necessary due to a participant’s age, disability, or medical condition. … Face coverings must be worn by all persons at all times, including practices and games, with only a few exceptions. … It is important to communicate to parents and players that masks will be required for all practices and, when allowed, games.

Types of face coverings can include a cloth mask, a neck gaiter, a scarf, a bandanna, or a religious face covering. CDC recommends using two layers of fabric when making a cloth face covering. Face coverings that are made of thinner single-layer fabric such as certain types of masks, scarves, neck gaiters, or bandannas may not be as effective for blocking droplets that come out when speaking, coughing, or sneezing and should not be used unless there are no alternatives. … A face covering must cover the nose and mouth completely. The covering should not be overly tight or restrictive and should feel comfortable to wear.

The rules ban games until the 14th, limit practices to single teams, and prohibits pre-season scrimmages until that date.

The rules presumably even regulate the state’s hockey leagues that cater to five-year-old players.

The rules requiring mask-wearing during games seems to run contrary to recommendations by the Mayo Clinic, which suggests that wearing a mask during anything other than “low-to moderate-intensity exercise” may decrease airflow and endanger the wearer.

Besides, the World Health Organization’s website says, “even when you’re in an area of COVID-19 transmission, masks should not be worn during vigorous physical activity because of the risk of reducing your breathing capacity.”

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