Democratic Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has implemented rules for sports that apparently would force children as young as five in hockey leagues to wear masks while playing.
The Minnesota Department of Health, in its “COVID-19 Sports Practice Guidance for Youth and Adults,” writes:
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 guidance adds, “Only practices are allowed from Jan. 4 through 13. No games or scrimmages with other teams are allowed. Games and scrimmages with other teams will be allowed starting Jan. 14.”
MinnesotaHockey.org notes there are hockey leagues for youngsters as young as five years old:
Youth 6U / Mini-Mite (Born on or after June 1, 2013)
Youth ages 5 and 6. Youth hockey associations in Minnesota Hockey offer a variety of programs at this age level that focus on teaching the basics of skating and hockey skills. Most programs are very affordable to allow kids to try the sport at a low cost and commitment. Non-checking.
Youth 8U / Mite (Born on or after June 1, 2011)
Primarily youth ages 7-9 but can include players eligible for Mini-Mite/6U. Most associations have multiple levels of Mite Divisions (I, II, III) based upon skill, age and size. There’s usually something for everyone! Contact your local association to get in touch with a Mite Coordinator for more information. Non-checking.
The Mayo Clinic website asks, “Is it safe to wear a mask while exercising?” It answers, “Yes it’s safe to wear a mask while exercising, but considerations should be made. For example, it’s recommended that you perform low- to moderate-intensity exercise rather than vigorous exercise while wearing a mask. This is because of the decreased airflow allowed through the mask which can affect breathing and your ability to properly regulate body temperature.”
TwinCities.com notes that the World Health Organization website writes “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.”
Susan Hopkins, a professor of medicine and radiology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, told The Associated Press that wearing masks doesn’t affect breathing, adding, “It’s doing very little, if anything, to your physiology.”
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