Professional sports, sporting events, and races

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Professional sports teams, events, athletes, and races should abide by league or governing body operating plans. They must submit these plans for approval to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). A league with multiple teams in Colorado may submit one plan for the league.

The following guidance is for professional sports, hybrid-style events that include professional and non-professional components, large recreational races, and organized sporting or endurance events. This does not apply to collegiate, institution-based, adult amateur, or youth recreational sports leagues. Adult amateur or youth recreational sports leagues should follow the personal recreation guidance.

IF THERE IS A CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19 AMONG PATRONS OR EMPLOYEES

  • The venue operators must notify and cooperate with their local public health agency on next steps.

  • Local public health agency contacts can be found here.

  • Outbreak guidance for non-healthcare facilities can be found here.

Event operations
  • Follow approved plans for the professional components of the event. 

  • For the preparation and social portions of their event, organizers should follow the outdoor event guidance for pre-race and post-race staging and activities, using the social distancing space calculator to determine maximum occupancy for staging areas or zones. 

  • For events with a professional division or component with more than 25 athletes, or whose participants are only professional athletes, organizers must follow league or governing body operating plans, and submit them to CDPHE for approval.

  • For events with solely a general public component or division, organizers should follow the personal recreation guidance for the competitive portion of the event. Use staggered start times, multiple heats, long-duration starts or other systems to avoid compact gatherings in the immediate starting area of more than 25 participants. 

  • Starting line operations should be organized to ensure 6-foot social distancing including physical and visual barriers.

  • The venue operator for an event with multiple teams/competitors is responsible for ensuring all teams/competitors are aware of and adhere to COVID-19 policies and procedures.

  • For non-stadium venues (bike races, marathons), restrict opportunities for spectators to gather, such as start and finish lines and other areas likely to gather crowds. Encourage all spectators to disperse along the course. 

  • To help with potential exposure notification, collect contact information for athletes and participants through methods such as event registration or ticketing to facilitate any necessary outreach to participants by public health officials. Information should include start time, grouping, and times of arrival and departure.

  • Give reminders to spectators and staff to observe at least 6 feet of distance before, during, and after events.

  • Install hand-sanitizing stations at entrances and in high-traffic areas.

  • Avoid pre-event or post-event activities that require or encourage mingling, congregating, or sharing materials.

Employees/Volunteers/Officiants
  • Employees, volunteers, and officiants should be familiar with the CDPHE Workplace Outbreak Guidance (available on the  Guidance & Resources page) and apply all recommendations for prevention and mitigation that are outlined in that document to their operation.

  • Employees, volunteers, and officiants must wear face coverings unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, in which case reasonable accommodations should be pursued to maintain the safety and health of all parties.

  • Train employees in proper use of protective equipment, and emphasize that they should refrain from touching their faces. Keep documentation of this training, and make it available upon request of the local public health agency.

  • Event set-ups should ensure a minimum of 6-foot social distancing between employees, staff, and volunteers. Except in instances where it is necessary for safety or the athletic competition, this distance should be maintained between all event staff/volunteers/officiants and participants/athletes as well. 

  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols (including workplace temperature monitoring and symptom screening questions where possible: see additional guidance) and encourage sick employees to use the Colorado COVID symptom support tool.

  • Employees who have been in close contact (generally within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, depending on level of exposure) with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 should not report to work and should self-quarantine.

  • Group employees into teams or shifts that stick together to limit mixing between different teams or shifts.

Participants/Athletes
  • Competitors must maintain a minimum 25-foot distance from spectators, except for health and safety reasons.

  • Attendees must wear face coverings unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, in which case reasonable accommodations should be pursued to maintain the safety and health of all parties.

  • Participants who have been in close contact (generally within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, depending on level of exposure) with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 should not participate and should self-quarantine.

  • Maximize physical spacing wherever possible. Participants should attempt to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others at all times, recognizing there may be temporary exceptions necessary during active competition to ensure the safety of participants or when necessary for the inherent nature of determining a competitive outcome.