Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 21, 2021)—Following the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the increasingly positive direction of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., USA Ultimate updated today its requirements for the use of masks at sanctioned events. These updates represent the latest revisions to the organization’s Return to Play guidelines and have been recommended by the medical advisory working group after thorough evaluation of the potential risks in a normal ultimate environment, including but not limited to marking, stalling, and close contact and on-field communication with unvaccinated players.
This update to previous guidance on masking, vaccination, and testing provides clarification in a few key areas, including distinctions between on and off-field activities and requirements for non-player event participants and spectators.
These guidelines are designed to address two primary types of events – local, in which participants are residents of the same state; and national, which include participants from multiple states.
A. At events in which participants are all residents of the same state, all COVID-19-related safety standards, including mask requirements, are subject to the guidance of the relevant state and local authorities.
B. At events in which participants are traveling from other states, additional screening and/or COVID-19-related safety standards are required in addition to the relevant local health and safety regulations. These additional standards are designed to mitigate the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission commonly associated with travel to and from areas of the country where differences exist in infection and vaccination rates, community spread, healthcare system capacities, vaccine accessibility and local health regulations.
Organizers of USA Ultimate-sanctioned events with participants from other states may choose to implement one of the following risk mitigation options for on-field activity:
1. All on-field participants (e.g., players, coaches, observers) must wear a mask when on the field of play.
2. All on-field participants (e.g., players, coaches, observers) will be provided with the option to report their vaccination status as part of the event registration process (or testing status).
a. On-field participants who provide proof of completed vaccination (i.e., two weeks after final dose) will not be required to wear a mask on the field of play, unless otherwise required by state or local regulations.
b. On-field participants who submit proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test will not be required to wear a mask on the field of play, unless otherwise required by state or local regulations. The test must have been performed within 72 hours of the start of the event and submitted prior to participation.
c. On-field participants who do not meet the criteria in 2a or 2b above may participate provided they wear a mask when on the field.
For either option 1 or 2 above, off-field mask requirements for all event attendees, including but not limited to parents, spectators, media, vendors, etc., will be subject to the applicable federal, state or local masking and other health and safety guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. In addition to following state and local guidelines, unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask at all times while at the event, especially when six feet of distance cannot be maintained or whenever in an enclosed space (e.g., restrooms, tents).
Organizers will be responsible for checking registration materials (if using Option 2b) and communicating expectations for their event to participating teams and individuals. Any event attendee who tests positive for COVID-19 prior to the event may not attend unless they have gone through CDC and local health department requirements for isolation and return to activity. Any event attendee who tests positive during an event must report those results to the event organizer and follow CDC and local health department requirements for contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. Individualsand/or teams that do not comply with these or other event rules are subject to removal from the event and additional disciplinary action.
These safety regulations are subject to change at any time, with or without notice, as the landscape of the pandemic, including the health and safety guidelines issued by various levels of federal, state, and local government, continues to shift. These guidelines are intended to provide greater flexibility at both the local and national levels while still offering a safe and cautious approach to returning to play, mitigate risk and provide reassurance to participants.
Additional information about major USA Ultimate events this summer is being finalized in collaboration with local organizers and will be shared directly with teams during the invitation and registration process.