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No immediate plans to allow winter youth sports, officials say

Joseph Spector
New York State Team

ALBANY — With growing COVID cases in New York, state officials said Monday they are less likely to allow indoor winter youth sports, such as basketball, hockey, and wrestling.

New York has yet to announce any official decision on winter sports, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his top aides doubted whether the teams will be able to convene later this month as the youth leagues had hoped.

Penn Yan Girls Basketball last year.

“As we’re seeing the inclines in different parts of the state, we’re not inclined to go ahead with opening the winter sports at this time,” Robert Mujica, the state budget director, who is helping to oversee any opening plans, said on a conference call with reporters.

“We’re continuing to look at those numbers, but the numbers right now don’t indicate we are going to expand them right now.”

The state Public High School Athletic Association in August first announced it would delay the winter sports season until Nov. 30 in order to give schools more time to complete the fall season.

Winter sports practice was originally scheduled to begin Nov. 16.

But basketball, ice hockey, wrestling, and competitive cheerleading have all be deemed high-risk sports by the state health department, leaving their fate undecided.

Cuomo said the infection rates will dictate what can open, explaining that New York has yet to allow the Buffalo Bills to have fans in the stadium for the same reason. Western New York had the highest infection rate in the state over the weekend.

“Can you open an activity? What is the overall infection rate? The overall infection rate is going up,” Cuomo said of the decision making process.