Outdoor youth sports were allowed to hold games and scrimmages starting Wednesday, June 24, after being on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota health officials said Friday.

The Minnesota Department of Health also announced that indoor youth sports can resume games and scrimmages on July 1.

Full team practices for all sports were allowed to start Wednesday, June 24. The Health Department recommended a phased-in approach to the reopening of all sports.

“I think it was a deliberate and intentional rollout,” said Todd Johnson of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. “They just wanted to get it right.”

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said it is important to look for opportunities for children to “engage in activities that promote health and well-being.”

“Learning to live with COVID-19 means finding ways to balance risks and benefits, and that’s what we are seeking to do with this guidance,” Malcolm said in a news release.

But the Star Tribune reports the news comes too late for some youth sports organizations. Dan Pfeffer, commissioner of USA Softball Minnesota, said his organization has already canceled its summer season and refunded $500,000 in fees.

“We’re planning for our fall season,” said executive director Matthew Madeira of Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, which also had canceled its summer season.

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