Allentown closing city-owned sports fields due to state's recommendation for youth sports

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Allentown officials announced Friday they are closing all city-owned and maintained sports fields until further notice due to the state’s recommendation for youth sports.

The decision follows the joint recommendation from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Education that Pre-K–12 school and recreational youth sports be postponed until at least January 1, 2021 in order to protect children and teens from COVID-19.

“The guidance is that we ought to avoid any congregate settings. And that means anything that brings people together is going to help that virus get us and we ought to do everything we can to defeat that virus," Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday.


The recommendation from Wolf’s Health and Education departments applies to individual and team sports, both school-related and other recreational leagues, and to games and scrimmages. It does not apply to college and pro sports.

“We have had to make some very difficult decisions regarding our swimming pools, playgrounds, fields and courts, but they are based on keeping public health a higher priority,” said Mayor Ray O’Connell. “I love athletics as much as anyone, but face masks and social distancing are two of our primary defenses against this virus. They are tough to achieve on the playing field.”

The city will issue refunds where appropriate. Last week, the Allentown Board of Education voted unanimously to begin the school year virtually.


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