Nassau County leaders say safety, sanitation enforcement will be up to youth sports leagues

YULEE, Fla. – Youth sports leagues in Nassau County have the option to start back up their games and practices, but many are moving slowly to do that.

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last week that the return of youth sports is up to local governments, Nassau County Manager Mike Mullin held a group conference call Thursday evening with county leaders and youth sports league officials to discuss who’s going to enforce safety on the field.

Mullin made a clear case during the meeting that leagues should be responsible for the enforcement of their own sanitation and safety.

The county said it doesn’t have the manpower to enforce those, and the leagues will have to follow, as best they can, county recommendations, which include coaches monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, encouraging social distancing and discouraging unnecessary physical contact.

READ: Nassau County League Sports Program Guidance

“It’s very different," said Annelisa Winebarger, who plays travel softball.

Winebarger and a few other teammates still get together once a week to practice at the Yulee sports complex.

“We’re all kind (of) like sisters, but being apart it’s just difficult,” Winebarger said. "We don’t get to bond, we don’t get to be like hugging, and it’s just important to us”

The county has asked each league president to send in a list of safety items they’d like provided by the county at the fields, such as proper signage and hand sanitizer dispensers.

There’s still not a clear answer as to when each league will start back up practice and games. It’ll be up to each individual league when children return to county fields.

League presidents agreed they first want to see the county step in with the help in getting signs and cleaning supplies.

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