Sports Safety Guidance

This guidance issued by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) pertains to all youth and adult recreational sports, including, but not limited to, school-based sports (high school and elementary school), travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. This guidance does NOT pertain to professional sports leagues or college division level sports.

These guidelines do not apply to adult sport activities subject to existing DCEO guidance identified below:

Wearing face coverings or masks, including during competition, may further reduce the transmission of disease and is recommended for all sports below where face coverings do not unduly interfere with participation.

This guidance will be regularly updated as public health conditions change and new information becomes available.

Higher Risk

  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Rugby
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Wrestling

Moderate Risk

  • Fencing
  • Flag Football or 7v7 Football
  • Paintball
  • Racquetball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wheelchair Basketball

Lower Risk

  • Archery
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Bass Fishing
  • Bowling
  • Climbing
  • Competitive Cheer
  • Competitive Dance
  • Crew
  • Cross Country
  • Cycling
  • Disc Golf
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Horseback Riding
  • Ice Skating
  • Ropes Courses
  • Sailing, Canoeing, Kayaking
  • Sideline Spirit
  • Skateboarding
  • Softball
  • Skiing
  • Swimming/Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Weight Lifting

Additional detailed guidance on sport-specific mitigation efforts, including appropriate distance, cleaning of equipment, and use of masks by participants, are included below.

The level of play allowed is dictated by current public health conditions.

Below are the Type of Play Levels:

Level 1

No-contact practices, and trainings only

Level 2

Intra-team scrimmages allowed, with parental consent for minors; no competitive play

Level 3

Intra-conference or Intra-EMS-region1 or intra-league play/meets only; state- or league-championship game/meet allowed for low-risk sports only

Level 4

Tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, out-of-state play allowed; championship games allowed

Current Conditions Allow for the Following Types of Play per Sport Risk Level:

  • Lower-risk sports can currently play at Levels 1, 2, and 3
  • Medium-risk sports can currently play at Level 1 and 2
  • Higher-risk sports can currently play at Level 1

1 EMS Regions are the 11 regions IDPH uses for the Restore Illinois boundaries

The following mitigation efforts can lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission while engaged in the following sports:

The following sports are considered low risk IF the below mitigations are met.


Maintain at least 6-feet apart in dugout areas or if players are seated in bleachers behind dugout


Maintain at least 6 feet of distance on the bench

Bass Fishing

Limit number of individuals on boat to allow for social distancing


Clean and sanitize equipment, including bowling balls

Competitive Cheer

Minimize contact between participants by maintaining at least 6 feet of distancing on the floor during routines, including when changing formations, and by prohibiting lifts, stunts, pyramids, and tosses as well as shared equipment (e.g., signs, flags, poms)

Competitive Dance

Minimize contact between dancers by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance (i.e., spacing) on the floor during routines, including when changing formations, and by prohibiting lifts and stunts and shared equipment (e.g., poms)

Cross County

Significantly limit the number of teams and follow physical workspace guidelines


Play individually or use only every other track in velodrome


Clean equipment between participants and limit sharing of personal equipment or materials (e.g., chalk)

Ice Skating

Play individually

Ropes Courses

Maintain at least 6 feet of socially distance and clean equipment between each individual


Limit number on boat to socially distance

Sideline spirit

Maintain social distance at least 6-feet apart and do not perform stunts or lifts


Maintain at least 6-feet apart in dugout areas or when players are seated in bleachers behind dugout


Restrict play to a single lane and singles diving; no relays, synchronized swimming, or paired diving


Minimize touching of shared objects and limit play to singles

Track and Field

Apply delayed starts, use every other track, and clean equipment between usage


Maintain distance of at least 6 feet between players on each side of net and on the bench; clean and sanitize shared equipment

Weight Lifting

Clean between each individual

Follow the latest regional metrics at:

For more information on guidance for businesses, please visit the FAQ on DCEO's website.