Youth leagues tell city: ‘Let us play!’

August 26, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Youth leagues tell city: ‘Let us play!’
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Local youth sports leagues are asking the city to lift the indefinite suspension of their permits, saying the parks belong to everyone.

Players and their families joined coaches and elected officials Monday at Shore Road and Bay Ridge Parkway to make their case to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Parks Department.

“We are deeply dismayed by the city’s decision not to issue fall field permits in NYC,” said Jesse DeLorenzo, president of Brooklyn City FC. “We find this to be insulting to hundreds of thousands of kids and adults who already safely play organized sports across our city. There is a solution already in place – field permits – to create a safe and orderly environment at the ballfields. City Hall and the Parks Department just need to use it, for the health and well-being of our residents during such a challenging year.”

“The mayor’s scattershot approach to what’s allowed and what isn’t continues to mystify and frustrate families and small businesses,” said U.S. Rep. Max Rose. “There’s no rhyme, reason or adherence to the reopening standards. Youth sports have been allowed to resume, and in many cases have without issue, yet the mayor is still refusing to issue permits to far too many leagues. Let our kids play and play safely.”

“As transmission remains low and students already are taking to public and private parks, there is no viable reason why youth sports permits shouldn’t be renewed,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes.

“By allowing group sports but not issuing permits, City Hall is sending a message that pickup games are OK but organized, permitted youth league sports are somehow not OK,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan.

#Fields4NYCYouth, a group endorsed by more than 100 organizations and several elected officials, sent a letter to de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, saying, “With permits, our organizations and other permitted youth organizations can ensure the safe use of parks’ fields in a fashion that can be operated, monitored and restricted to adhere to guidelines from New York State and New York City.

“Our organizations and others can support effective contact tracings if [COVID-19] cases do arise from within the population, something that is not as easy with unorganized groups using the fields. And most crucially, our organizations and others will provide this city’s children and young people with vital opportunities for safe recreation, fitness and athletics.”

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