Over the past 13 months, COVID-19 has completely altered and impacted nearly every area of our lives, and youth sports is no exception. As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, facility managers and tournament directors were left to determine how to manage their business given the uncertainty during the early days. County, state, and federal mandates requiring shutdowns of facilities influenced decisions to close facilities.
During the full facility shutdown, facility managers and tournament directors attempted to address the needs of the business and facility. Due to the lack of revenue, some facilities temporarily laid off or reduced hours for employees, working with a smaller staff to address needs such as facility maintenance, purchasing COVID-19 cleaning and health supplies, and COVID-19 protocol development. Additionally, they attempted to maximize new opportunities specific to the pandemic, either by applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or extending hours to meet childcare needs in the local community.
As health officials allowed facilities to reopen at reduced capacity, owners and leaders were left to determine how to operate under the new guidelines. Facility and tournament directors sought guidance from local health departments to determine if they were categorized as a business that could reopen to the public. Governing bodies, sports facilities, and event operators then created modifications and adaptations for participants and spectators to ensure a safe environment.