The city’s parks department on Tuesday announced that youth baseball and softball activities will return this month.
According to a press release announcing the decision, the city “is taking a slow and cautious approach” to reopening parks in an effort to “balance health and safety concerns with public demand for resumed access to amenities and services.”
From the press release:
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) issued a directive on June 1, 2020 for community team sports. Individuals participating in or viewing baseball and softball activities in City parks are expected to follow all requirements in that directive. ADH requirements for players, coaches and spectators include maintaining social distancing, wearing face coverings, participating in health screenings, sanitizing frequently touched objects, avoiding non-sport-related physical contact and more. This directive is available on the COVID-19 page of the ADH website.
Youth baseball for children 13 and older will resume practice and games at the White River Complex beginning on June 13.
Youth baseball for children ages 9-12 will resume on June 19 at Kessler Mountain Regional Park Chambers Baseball Complex.
Baseball for those aged 8 and younger will not be instated, officials said, and the Walker Park Baseball Complex will remain closed for the 2020 season.
“The decision to not allow the 8 and under age groups to play was determined in order to more properly enforce social distancing and safe behavior,” said city recreational superintendent Lee Farmer. “The safety of our participants has always been our top priority, especially during this pandemic, and it is difficult for younger age groups to remain cautious with regards to social distancing when at the ballpark with their friends. This was not an easy decision in not allowing these children to play and we are not alone in this decision as other cities in NW Arkansas are not offering 8 and under baseball.
“The City of Fayetteville is working to balance health and safety concerns with public demand for resuming activities,” he said.
Adult softball leagues may begin practice on Monday, June 15, and games will resume on Thursday, June 18 at Gary Hampton Softball complex.
Officials are urging all citizens who use the trails and parks to “take all possible steps to reduce unnecessary risks for COVID-19 transmission,” including practicing social distancing and adhering to group size guidelines, wearing a face covering when possible, and washing hands frequently.