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COVID Restrictions: Santa Clara County Lifts Ban On Team Sports; Sharks To Return To SAP Center

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Health officials in Santa Clara County on Monday announced changes to current COVID restrictions after the state lifted the stay-at-home order, including the end of the ban on all team sports.

All sports including college and professional will be allowed to resume, according to county officials.

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The San Jose Sharks were set to play their home games in Arizona, but would now be allowed to host games at SAP Center in San Jose if they follow proper protocols.

"To ensure that all these athletes and their personnel are limiting any exposure to the broader community and basically keeping within their households or participating in their activities, because with close-contact sports, obviously there's no social distancing," said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams.

A spokesperson for the team said the Sharks are reviewing the new rules and hope to return to the Shark Tank as soon as possible.

There still won't be any fans allowed to attend games, and there will be new rules in place for the players, including testing and tracing.

Last November, the San Francisco 49ers were forced to move team operations to Arizona in order to continue practicing and playing games.

Despite the changes, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody and Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss warned residents in the county to remain vigilant.

"We may be past the winter surge, but COVID-19 is still with us," Moss said in a statement. "We are only in the early stages of our vaccination campaign, and the virus has shown us it is capable of returning again and again. That means that, even as we cautiously reopen, we must continue to do the things we know work to keep each other safe."

The county is keeping its mandatory travel quarantine in place. That rule requires anyone traveling into Santa Clara County from more than 150 miles away to quarantine for 10 days.

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