Pa. professional sports teams and players cleared to practice, play in yellow phase

Pa. professional sports teams and players cleared to practice, play in yellow phase
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 28: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates prior to the first period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on February 28, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday that professional sports teams and players are allowed to practice and play in counties that are in the yellow or green phase.

According to a release from the governor’s office, professional sports are defined as “any sporting event at which the participants are paid by a league or team, or at which individuals or teams receive prizes or purse.”

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Sports affected by this new guidance include hockey, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, golf and tennis.

Officials said players and teams are allowed to practice if the team or league has developed a COVID-19 safety plan.

The plan, which must be approved by the Pa. Department of Health, includes several requirements such as testing or screening and monitoring of all “on-venue players and personnel.”

Also, fans and spectators will not be allowed on the venue property for games.

The Penguins are expected to open facilities next month for voluntary player workouts per the NHL Return-to-Play proposal.

NFL facilities are open, but only a percentage of employees are allowed in the building, and current league policy doesn’t allow for most players or coaches to be in facilities.

The NHL hopes to open training camps after July 1 -- with the playoffs resuming at some point after that.

The Steelers, meanwhile, opened their facility last week. They issued the following statement regarding Wolf’s announcement:

“We opened our facility last Tuesday, May 19, and have adhered to the policies and guidelines from government and health officials as well as the National Football League. We appreciate the guidance from the Governor’s office as we make plans to safely prepare for the 2020 season.”