COVID-19 Plan and Regulations

Updated 6/30/20

THERE IS MUCH INFORMATION TO SHARE WITH YOU. PLEASE READ THROUGH ALL OF THIS IN ITS ENTIRETY AND SHARE WITH ALL YOUR PLAYERS AND PARENTS.

We have used an FAQ format as so many of you have the same questions.

The following info is covered below:
  • Download the Playing, COVID-19 and Park Rules. 
  • Restrictions on teams and spectators.
  • Info regarding bathrooms, on-site medical, food, merchandise, and livestreaming.
  • Updated formats.
  • Game play /scrimmages vs tournaments.
  • Expanded events and new weekday events.
  • New event pricing.
  • New pay-at-the-plate umpire process.
  • Updated info regarding credits/refunds for pandemic-postponed events.
  • Updated format and costs for USSSA Nationals.
  • Game play and rules modifications.
  • New roster and waiver requirements.
  • Updated info for teams needing hotels.
  • College Coach Info
  • Other USSSA tournament info

Restrictions on Teams and Spectators

What will the restrictions be on teams and spectators?

WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH YOUR COMPLETE COOPERATION WILL BE REQUIRED TO NOT ONLY GET BACK ON THE FIELD BUT TO REMAIN THERE FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON. This season will be like no other and we all must remember what it has taken to get back playing again. All of our actions will dictate how successful we all are playing softball once again. Everyone must understand we will have a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. It has taken an incredible effort to get back in business and we will not allow anyone in the park to jeopardize the season to end prematurely.

Below is our “Safe Return to Play” plan.
  1. Only uniformed players (including injured players), 3 coaches and 2 parent/guardian spectator per player will be permitted in the park. Keeping human numbers low will be paramount. No other spectators will be allowed (siblings, grandparents, friends, etc.). Our plan guarantees there will be no group of people larger than 3 comes to the park (player, 1 spectator parent, 1 coach parent but most groups will be 2, player and 1 parent).
  2. Current state regulations call for masks or cloth face coverings in public when close contact is unavoidable. While the regulations are in place, we will require masks or cloth face coverings to enter the building to access the bathrooms and retail spaces.  For added security we suggest people where them in any outdoor areas they feel they cannot maintain social distance. All spectators will be required to maintain 6’ social distances.
  3. Temporary fencing has been installed so there are now only two points of entrance/exit to the park. These entrances (one at each parking lot) will be managed by staff. These staffers will monitor that only appropriate people are entering the park plus provide information and safety instructions.
  4. A limited number of spectators will be allowed behind the backstops.   Parents can also spread out strictly adhering to social distancing from the outfield ends of the 1st and 3rd base dugouts and around the outfield. NO CANOPIES, OR TENT are allowed behind the backstop.
  5. All picnic tables and bleachers will be stacked in the storage area and will not be used. Spectators will need to bring their own personal chairs for seating.
  6. Once a team has completed play, they will need to leave the park immediately. There will be no lingering to watch or scout other teams.
  7. Each field area (benches, dugouts, gates, etc.) will be disinfected daily.
  8. Between games employees who will be maintaining the fields, will sanitize the team bench as well as the scorers table.
  9. Signage will be placed at all entrances and other locations around the park regarding social distancing and hygiene practices.

How long will these restrictions last?

  • It’s unknown for how long we will need to enforce these highly restrictive measures.
  • Once games begin and we understand any issues we find during actual play, we can begin to evaluate any amendments. Our approach is to take baby steps before we walk or run. We need to make sure we can manage all the social distance and other requirements perfectly before we start to increase the amount of people at the park.
  • However, we cannot predict how the government will continue to restrict us. It’s unrealistic and perhaps also unwise to think in a matter of weeks we can go from maximum restrictions to pre-pandemic behavior.

How will the site restrictions be enforced and what happens if people do not comply?

  • For everyone’s safety all must understand we will have a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY.
  • Coaches must ensure their team adhere to the two parent per player rule and on-field social distance rules. We prefer to not have to resort to a wristband system for entering the park so please monitor and take responsibility for your team and spectators.
  • A government required Director of Safety and Adherence will be on hand to monitor all fields to maintain and enforce the rules. Each field crew will also be part of the enforcement effort. Typically a 2-person crew is assigned to 2 fields for the day. They will not only groom fields but will be part of the crowd management team.
  • Umpires, the UIC and the Director of Safety will manage both the game and the social distance and safety rules on the field. However, we need the coaches to be an equally important part of the safety team.
  • Umpires will warn coaches if a team is not abiding by the social distance restrictions. Teams will have a maximum of 2 warnings. If a third infraction of social distance rules occurs, the game will end and be recorded as a forfeit.
  • Spectators are required to obey all commands from tournament staff regarding social distance and park policies. Spectators who refuse to obey commands from staff will be ejected from the park. If they refuse ejection, the police will be called.
  • If anyone, players or spectators are feeling sick, have a cold, coughing etc., STAY HOME!

Masks for Coaches, Players and Spectators

Do I have to wear a mask?

  • Current state regulations call for masks or cloth face coverings,not face shields, in public when close contact is unavoidable. While the regulations are in place, we will require masks or cloth face coverings to enter the building to access the bathrooms and retail spaces.  For added security we suggest people where them in any outdoor areas they feel they cannot maintain social distance. All spectators will be required to maintain 6’ social distances.
  • Players, coaches and umpires engaged on the field do not need to wear a mask.
  • Outside the field if social distance cannot be maintained then a mask is required.
  • Face shields DO NOT meet the requirement for masks.

Bathrooms, On-site Medical, Food, Merchandise and Livestreaming

Will the bathrooms be open and will food be available? Can we bring our own food and drinks?

  • Our professional food service professionals (Mozicatto Catering and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream) will use their two Food Trucks. As always their trucks will be sanitized each day. The area by the food trucks will be marked off with 6’ distance markers to stand in line at the truck.
  • Individual families may bring food or drink for themselves, but no tailgating, or team meals will be permitted.
  • No communal water coolers will be permitted.
  • No seeds or any food that encourages spitting will be permitted.
  • Our bathrooms will be open. Masks or cloth face covering are required to enter the bathrooms. As we always do, our restrooms will be maintained for cleanliness, monitored constantly and disinfected daily.
  • There are 5 hand washing stations (3 women and 2 men) and we are adding hand sanitizer stations as well

Will the retail space be open to purchase tournament shirts and other items?

  • Yes, it will be open. Masks or cloth face covering are required to enter the retail space.

Will medical personnel be on site?

  • As always, Hartford HealthCare will have certified athletic training medical staff on site at every game. Aside from their role to provide athletic training, concussion assessment and minor first aid, they will also be prepared to do temperature checks for anyone who wishes one. We are working with them to determine what more they can offer during games.

Will the games be livestreamed?

Game Play and Rules Modifications

Will the rules of the game be any different this summer?

  • The play adaptations are mainly in terms of social distance. We have tried to preserve the game as we know it as much as possible. These are the on-field protocols all will need to follow.
  • On the field and around the field, we will follow strict social distancing. Fastpitch softball is a non-contact sport and is ideally suited for such a thing since the players are so far apart for nearly the entire time.
  • Umpires, the UIC and the Director of Safety will manage both the game and the social distance and safety rules on the field. However, we need the coaches to be an equally important part of the safety team.
  • Umpires will warn coaches if a team is not abiding by the social distance restrictions. Teams will have a maximum of 2 warnings. If a third infraction of social distance rules occurs, the game will end and be recorded as a forfeit.
  • Teams will warmup in the outfield and edges of the infield only. Since at any time the teams in the park will be the ones playing no warmups are needed in other areas.
  • At the conclusion of a team’s games they are to immediately pack up their gear and exit the park. They are not permitted to linger in the park to scout other teams, shop or eat at the food trucks. It’s important the teams exit quickly so the next block of teams can enter the park.
  • Teams as required to completely clean out the dugouts and leave nothing behind that others must touch to clean or discard.
  • The homeplate umpire will be in a new position to call balls and strikes. We are experimenting on the field now to determine the best view of the ball and plate while maintaining social distance. Umpires will not call balls and strikes from behind the pitcher due to safety reasons to protect the umpire from batted and thrown balls and to avoid colliding with a player and restricting play.
  • There will be no shaking of hands, high fives, fist bumps or even elbow bumps. At the game’s conclusion teams will just exit the field.
  • There will be no players at the homeplate meeting prior to the game and social distance will be maintained by the two managers and umpire.
  • Mound visits will be limited to the pitcher, catcher and manager at a proper social distances.
  • No team huddles, pre or post game meetings will be permitted.
  • No seeds or any food that encourages spitting will be permitted.
  • No sharing of equipment will be permitted.

How do we manage the dugouts and social distancing?

  • Our dugouts are 8’x30’ all made from chain link fence and covered so air flow is very good. It’s not an enclosed space. However, we will limit the number of players in the dugout at any one time. For players on defense usually the whole team is on the field with one or two players and the coaches on the bench. Coaches and umpires will keep watch to maintain strict social distancing. No more than 5 people maintaining 6’ social distances are allowed in the dugout at one time.
  • For the team on offense the 4 players in the batting order due up that inning and 1 coach will be in the dugout. The other 2 coaches will be at the 1st and 3rd base coaching positions.
  • The remaining players will be outside the dugout  from the end of the dugout down the baseline.
  • Players will need to bring chairs if they want to have seating in this area and teams can place pop-up tents to cover the players seated in the uncovered dugout area.
  • Each team will be required to have one or two parents or a coach delegated to monitor the players outside the dugout for social distancing and to monitor and maintain the flow into and out of the dugout.

New FPN and USSSA Waiver Requirements

What are the waiver requirements for Fastpitch Nation Park and USSSA?

  • FPN has used athletic waivers for the last several seasons. We have an updated waiver in light of the COVID-19 situation. All players/teams will need to go through the updated FPN online waiver process prior to playing. You can access the system here.
  • USSSA has now added a waiver process in light or the COVID-19 situation. They are using the USSSA guardian system for each parent to process the waiver. The player will not be added to the USSSA roster unless the waiver is completed. To access the USSSA waiver the parent must go into their guardian account and accept the waiver and then the player will appear on the roster.
  • We will be emailing teams directly more detail on this process.

Updated info for Teams Needing Hotels

Will hotels be open for the tournaments?

  • Along with softball, hotels will be back in business accepting leisure travelers June 17. For those of you who already have their reservations, they are in tact. If you have not yet made reservations you can access our hotel reservation system.
  • If you were in an event that was postponed our hotel administrator will cancel your reservations. Do not call the hotel directly.
  • You can contact our hotel administrator, Joanna Vanderslice at joanna@ctmeetings-housing.org, or call 860-310-5804.

Do I have to stay in a hotel if I prefer to drive?

  • Our Stay-to-Play hotel policy has always allowed this. We impose no distance limitation that forces you into a hotel. If you prefer to drive you can. However, if you are using a hotel you must book through our hotel process
  • Every effort is always made, when possible, to not put teams from a long distance into morning games if they are not in a hotel.

College Coach Info

Can College Coaches attend to watch games?

  • Yes coaches may attend. We ask that you email me in advance so we can have your names ready at the entrances to avoid any issues. Please have your college ID available to show my folks at the gates in case you are asked.
  • Coaches may attend any events they want. However, we may need to limit the number of coaches who attend so please contact is in advance.

If I cannot attend an event but want to watch can I access the livestream and do I need to pay?

  • We actually prefer you use the livestream just to keep the number of people in the park to a minimum.
  • Livestream access for college coaches is FREE.

Where can I see what teams are playing in each event?