County of Marin - News Releases - Childcare & Youth Programs

For Immediate Release
August 12, 2020

Marin Revises Restrictions on Childcare and Youth Programs

New guidelines provide more flexibility while balancing health concerns

San Rafael, CA – In preparation for the start of the school year, Marin Public Health has issued new public health guidelines for childcare and youth programs conducted in Marin. The new guidelines were modeled after State of California guidance and designed to accommodate more flexibility for fall programming. The Marin -specific guidance goes into effect August 17, 2020.

The youth program guidelines apply to youth sports, such as basketball, football, gymnastics, dance studios, among other popular youth athletic activities.

A young smiling boy adjusts his homemade green felt mask Social distancing is not natural for kids, but it’s necessary under COVID-19 public health orders.

Some of the revised guidelines include:

  • cohort group size is increased from 12 to 15 people
  • youth can participate in up to two programs simultaneously
  • programs are not limited to a minimum number of days per week, but programs still must be a minimum of 3 weeks.
  • athletic programs must occur outdoors only and participants must stay 6 ft apart

Even with these new restrictions, sports that cannot be played with enough distancing and cohorting are still not permitted.

"We’re glad to be able to ease some of the restrictions for our youth programs this fall,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer. “We appreciate the importance of group activities and exercise for our children both physically and socially but at the same time, we have to take measured precautions to reopen safely for our entire community. We also know that childcare and youth programs will take on a new meaning this Fall with schools starting back in a virtual environment.”

Outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that promote congregating are also not permitted at this time. This includes tournaments, events, and competitions, regardless of whether teams are from the same school or from different schools, counties, or states. For sports that cannot be conducted with sufficient physical distancing or cohorting, individual skill building will be permitted outdoors, including body weight resistance training, running drills, conditioning and training.

Use of face coverings is strongly encouraged for young children between two years old and second grade, if they can be worn properly. Face coverings are required for children in 3rd grade through high school and may be removed for meals, snacks, naptime, or outdoor recreation.

Indoor youth athletic programs are not allowed at this time. The State of California issued guidance indicating that indoor youth sports are only permitted in Counties where indoor gyms are open. Counties on the watchlist, such as Marin County, cannot open indoor gyms.  Therefore, indoor youth sports must remain closed at this time. When Marin County is off the watchlist and makes the decision to open indoor gyms, then youth sports will be permitted to operate under the Childcare and Youth Guidelines and any applicable state guidance.

The full childcare and youth program guidelines and an accompanying “Frequently Asked Questions” document can be found on Childcare section of


Laine Hendricks
Public Information Officer
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7496
Email: Laine Hendricks
County Administrator website