As the rest of the state and nation continue to relax Covid restrictions, Boise's city will not allow parents to attend youth soccer games as city parks. Mayor McLean did release a list of guidelines that will enable Boisians to meet in public not to exceed 50 people. A young man who will remain nameless called me this morning.

He shared with me that parents will not be allowed to watch their kids play spring sports in Boise Parks. The young caller sent me an email from a local coach describing the prohibition on parents watching youth soccer games. Parents were notified via email from their kid's coach's that they would have to drop their kids off and pick them up after the game.

This protocol does raise safety issues that should be addressed before the season begins. 'What happens if a child is injured?' 'Who will look after the athlete after the game is over?' 'What's the harm in having parents watch games OUTSIDE?'

Currently, over 3,500 parents have signed an online petition to allow parents to attend their kid's games at Simplot Park. You can look at the petition here. Here's a portion of why the parents believe the city's policy should be changed to allow fans at youth sports games.

Now as we embark upon the Spring season, the City of Boise has reversed course and inexplicably prohibited all spectators at Boise-owned fields, including Simplot Sports Complex and Optimist Fields. Games may be played, but no spectators are permitted—not even the parents of youth players and referees. Case counts are significantly lower, hospitalizations are down, and vaccinations are available for the most vulnerable in our communities. After consideration of all these same factors and consultation with medical experts, West Ada and Boise school districts have approved a return to full-time in-person learning this month. With the support of Governor Little and the Idaho State Board of Education, more fans have even been allowed to return to indoor sports venues with the continued use of masks and social distancing. Yet somehow the City of Boise reached the opposite conclusion for the used of its outdoor venues for youth sports.

Mayor McLean shared her thoughts on reopening in her recent press release.
The City of Boise will lead by example and submit its own plans to Central District Health for any upcoming events larger than 50 people.

"I'm excited to offer a path for people to return safely to the events we've missed so much over the last year," said Mayor Lauren McLean. "I want to thank Central District Health for partnering with us, our local healthcare providers, regional partners, the business community, and especially our residents for helping us to slow the spread of COVID-19. The end is in sight, but as we begin to return to normal, we must all stay vigilant to ensure we don't lose the gains we've made over the last few months."

Let's hope the city of Boise follows the example of the state and the rest of the country and allows parents to attend their kid's games.  We have reached out to the mayor's office on this specific issue seeking comment.  We will update this story when we hear back from them.

Here is an update from the mayor's office.

Following a legal review and request for clarification, the City of Boise will follow Central District Health (CDH) guidance related to group size limits and youth sports.

According to CDH, coaches, players and officials will not count toward the max capacity group size limit. The total number of spectators will be limited to 49 at outdoor league games this spring, so long as COVID-19 levels allow. Spectators will be required to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from those not in their immediate household and wear face coverings that properly cover the nose and mouth.

Boise Parks and Recreation is coordinating with league organizers and coaches related to this guidance.

Should a league or team plan to exceed the max capacity group size limit at a game or event, a safety plan will need to be submitted to Central District Health for approval.

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