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Massachusetts Releases New Guidance On High School Winter Sports

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts released new guidance Friday for high school and youth winter sports. Some will get to play games, but athletes will have to wear masks at all times.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) put the sports into three categories – lower risk, moderate risk and higher risk.

Lower risk winter sports include swimming, gymnastics and skiing.

Some of the moderate risk sports for this winter are indoor track and team swimming.

Wrestling, basketball and ice hockey are among those considered high risk. Games will be allowed in basketball and hockey, but there will not be any tournaments. Wrestling is confined to practices and drills.

All athletes will be required to wear masks, with the exception of swimming and other water sports. Those with a "documented medical condition or disability that makes them unable to wear a face covering" will also be exempt, according to EEA guidance.

Fans will be allowed at events, but under strict social distancing guidelines and they must also wear masks. Indoor facilities have to limit capacity to no more than 50-percent.

"Facility owners must ensure that visitors are not congregating in small areas, hallways or lobbies or blocking traffic flow," the new guidance states.

Gyms and arenas must close by 9:30 p.m. and cannot re-open until at least 5 a.m. the next day, under the state's new restrictions that went into affect Friday.

Locker rooms will also be closed at all times.

Anyone who doesn't follow the new guidance could be fined.

"The Department of Public Health, Department of Labor Standards and/or a Local Board of Health may issue a civil fine for failure to comply with the limitations and requirements set forth below in the amount of $300 per violation for each incident and for each day the violation(s) occur," the EEA guidance stated.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), which oversees high school sports, said it will review the guidance and update each sport's committee next week.

Click here to read the entire EAA document.

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