Professional Sports & Other Sporting Activities

Phase 2 and 3 COVID-19 Requirements

Included Here:

  • Professional sporting activities indoor and outdoor
  • Outdoor youth team sports and outdoor adult recreational team sports

All professional sporting activities, indoor and outdoor, outdoor youth team sports, and outdoor adult recreational team sports operating during the Safe Start Washington phased reopening must adopt a written procedure for employee safety and customer interaction that is at least as strict as this procedure and that complies with the safety and health requirements below, including recreation-specific guidance.

Safety and Health Requirements

All activities covered by these requirements have a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy workplace in accordance with state and federal law, and comply with the following COVID-19 worksite specific safety practices, as outlined in Governor Inslee’s “Safe Start” Proclamation 20-25.4, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces, and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations at

Employers must specifically ensure operations follow the main L&I COVID-19 requirements to protect workers, including:

  • Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.
  • Maintain minimum six-foot separation between all employees (and customers) in all interactions when feasible. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required, such as use of barriers, personal protective equipment, staggered breaks, and alternating work shift starts.
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks as appropriate or required to employees for the activity being performed. Cloth facial coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone on the jobsite unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under Department of Labor & Industries safety and health rules and guidance. Refer to Coronavirus Facial Covering and Mask Requirements for additional details. A cloth facial covering is described in the Department of Health guidance,
  • Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use disposable gloves where safe and applicable to prevent transmission on tools or other items that are shared.
  • Establish a housekeeping schedule that includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces.
  • Screen employees for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at start of shift. Make sure sick employees stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick. Cordon off any areas where an employee with probable or confirmed COVID-19 illness worked, touched surfaces, etc. until the area and equipment is cleaned and sanitized. Follow the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC to
    deep clean and sanitize.

A site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor shall be designated by the employer at each job site to monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 job site safety plan.

A worker may refuse to perform unsafe work, including hazards created by COVID-19. And, it is unlawful for their employer to take adverse action against a worker who has engaged in safety protected
activities under the law if their work refusal meets certain requirements.

Employees who choose to remove themselves from a worksite because they do not believe it is safe to work due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure may have access to certain leave or unemployment benefits.

Employers must provide high-risk individuals covered by Proclamation 20-46 with their choice of access to available employer-granted accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work
arrangement is not feasible. Other employees may have access to expanded family and medical leave included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, access to use unemployment benefits, or access
to other paid time off depending on the circumstances. Additional information is available at

No business may operate until it can meet and maintain all the requirements in this document, including providing materials, schedules and equipment required to comply. Additional considerations may be adopted, as appropriate.

All issues regarding worker safety and health are subject to enforcement action under L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). Employers can request COVID-19 prevention advice and help
from L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

Professional Sporting Activities, Indoor and Outdoor

All professional sporting activities, including back office operations of up to 50 people, unless a county’s then-current phase permits a greater number of people, full team practices, and spectator-less games
and competitions, can resume on June 5, 2020, regardless of phase, if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The organization follows both the league-wide and team-specific “return to play” safety plans.
  • The league-wide plan is approved by the player’s association or union representing players of the team.
  • The team must report in advance to its respective county health department the dates when full team practices and spectator-less pre-season games will occur.
  • For horse racing, instead of the above requirements, a horse racing safety plan safety plan must be developed and followed and, along with specific guidance to horse racing, which can be found here.

Outdoor Youth Team Sports and Outdoor Adult Recreational Team Sports, Excluding School-Connected or Administered Team Sports and Junior Hockey


  • In Phase 2, team practice can resume if a) players are limited to groups of five in separate parts of the field, separated by a buffer zone and b) practice can follow social distancing of a minimum of six feet between players with no contact. Each league, organization, or club must publish and follow a “return to play” safety plan. Parents and household members must not congregate on
    the sidelines during practice.
  • In Phase 3, teams can resume playing games. Total gathering at any one game cannot exceed 50 individuals. For sporting complexes with multiple fields or other playing surfaces, the 50-
    individual limit is counted on a per-field, not a per-complex basis.
  • Nothing in these requirements should be read to obligate a facility owner to reopen a facility.