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Despite new restrictions, Mass. high schools will get to decide if they will play basketball, hockey on local level

Hockey will be allowed to proceed during the winter season after approved modifications have been made.Matthew Healey/for The Boston Globe

Despite Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement Tuesday that he will roll back the state’s reopening process to Phase 3, Step 1, decisions on playing basketball and hockey remain at the local level.

New guidance regarding sports participation is expected later this week, according to an e-mail from EAA chief of staff Sarah Wallach shared with the Globe.

“We will be issuing a fresh Phase III, Step 1 guidance that will apply to sports this week,” wrote Wallach. “At this point, I can confirm that it will reduce indoor facility capacity to 40 [percent] and outdoor spectator limits will be reduced to 50 [percent]. There may be an update to the mask exemption for certain low risk sports, but I’ll know more in the next 24 hours. Please tell everyone to ignore the Phase III, Step 1 guidance document that is on the [EEA] website.”


Duxbury athletic director Thom Holdgate, co-chair of the MIAA’s COVID-19 Task Force and a member of the association’s board of directors, told the Globe that winter sports can still happen, as long as schools and teams abide by local jurisdictions.

The board will meet virtually for its scheduled December meeting on Wednesday morning. The status of winter sports is on the agenda.

“As long as schools are following guidelines established by the EEA and the MIAA, those sports can be played,” said Holdgate.