County of Marin - News Releases - Sports Guidelines

For Immediate Release
March 03, 2021

Marin Updates Restrictions to Youth Sports

Multi-team competitions are allowed if state guidelines are followed

San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin is aligning with State of California policy on youth sports activities under COVID-19 public health restrictions, effective March 3.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) provided updated guidance on organized youth sports and recreation on February 26, just a few days after Marin County moved from the most restrictive purple tier (signifying widespread risk of COVID-19) to the red tier (substantial risk) on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The freshened CDPH guidelines included rules for youth sports, including school and community-sponsored programs, and privately-organized clubs and leagues.

A photo of a female soccer referee wearing a face covering talking to a group of seated female soccer players on the grass.As of March 3, all team competitions are limited to teams located within Marin or counties bordering Marin that are in the same tier on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Starting March 3, team competitions are permitted if all state restrictions are followed. Competitions of moderate- and high- contact team sports where physical distancing is impossible to maintain — such as baseball or football—may only take place between two teams (no multi-team tournaments). Sports that are individual in nature — such as track and field, mountain biking, solo sailing, or swimming — may conduct multi-team events since physical distancing between athletes is easier to maintain.

All team competitions are limited to teams located within Marin or counties bordering Marin that are in the same tier. The City/County of San Francisco achieved red tier status as of this week as is the only county adjacent county that qualifies. If the competitions meet the criteria, event organizers will not need to notify or seek approval from Marin County Public Health.

The state guidance also provides requirements for athletes, coaches, observers and how a competition may be conducted. As Marin County continues to progress through the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the sports guidelines will dictate which sports will be allowed to be conducted indoors.

The state guidance does not apply to college athletics, professional sports, or community athletic events such as fundraiser 10-kilometer runs. The updated guidelines also apply to adult recreational sports.

Whether indoor or outdoor, the state’s updated guidelines continue to enforce use of masks and physical distancing, no sharing of drink bottles or other personal equipment, and a ban on all out-of-state competition events of any kind, including scrimmages. In Marin County, one adult per student athlete will be allowed to attend competitions, to limit crowding among spectators.

Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Public Health Officer, said Marin is aligning with the state policy without any local added mandates or restrictions. He indicated Marin County Public Health will closely monitor for COVID-19 transmission related to sports activities and will add restrictions swiftly if needed.

“Physical exercise and play are vital to well-being for all of us, and especially for our young people,” Willis said. “The state’s new guidelines are strong and are well-timed as spring arrives and students return to school and sports.”

Youth and adult sports include varied activities that have different levels of risk for transmission of COVID-19. Outdoor activities present significantly lower risk of transmission relative to comparative indoor activities. Competition between teams also increases mixing across groups and outside of communities, which also contributes to the potential for spread of COVID-19.

In general, the risk of contracting COVID-19 increases the more a person interacts with others from outside their household. For athletes, coronavirus-related risks can increase through a sporting event if:

  • the physical interaction is close
  • the close-quarters interaction between athletes is longer than fleeting
  • the physical exertion is high and breathing is hard

The risks apply to any competition or training/practice with others. It does not apply to individual conditioning or exercise.

Review the guidelines online at or call the state’s COVID-19 hotline, 1-833-422-4255, for questions on the new policies. Questions may be emailed to Marin County Public Health’s COVID-19 address.


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