The health department says they have received phone calls and emails from school districts, coaches and parents of athletes in relation to travel sports teams.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Erie County Department of Health is responding to questions and complaints about youth travel sports. 

The health department says they have received phone calls and emails from school districts, coaches and parents of athletes in relation to travel sports teams.

They say they’ve also have received concerns about independent youth sports teams scheduling and participating in out-of-state games.

Health officials say sports programs that operate in New York state are required to follow NY’s guidelines, which does not permit travel for sporting events. This applies to  low-risk, moderate-risk, and high-risk sports, and would include activities where a team or individual is only participating in a single event.  

“Coaches and parents who choose to allow children to travel out of state for sports events are putting our school districts and community at risk for travel-based COVID-19 cases,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. 

New York State’s travel advisory list includes 40 US States and Territories that have high transmission of COVID-19.  Those that travel to these areas, must quarantine for 14 days upon return to New York.

Sports activities are not included in the 24-hour exemption. “Sports activities out of state are considered non-essential, and involve contact with people from many different areas. Those are exactly the types of activities that lead to COVID-19 transmission and we strongly encourage people to avoid them.” said Dr. Burstein. “Spending a day or a weekend playing in a sports tournament is not the same as driving through a state and stopping at a few rest areas on the highway.”

If you have a complaint about youth sports travel teams that are planning to travel or have travelled to out-of-state tournaments you can contact  the NY Pause Enforcement Task Force at 1-833-789-0470.