Task Force mulls reopening kids sports, acupuncture, bowling, movies

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Gray West is pictured playing T-ball in Concord in this file photo. Melissa West photo


CONCORD, NH – The Governor’s Economic Reopening Task Force heard about trying to reopen youth baseball and softball on Monday, and a strategy for acupuncturists to again see their patients.

It also heard presentations from the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General’s Office on compliance issues related to opening up some aspects of business during the pandemic.

The task force will meet daily this week to deliberate on guidance strategies to reopen aspects of government. On Tuesday, it will vote and get an update on lodging.

On Wednesday, the task force will receive industry presentations on indoor movie theaters and bowling.

On Thursday, presentations are expected from sponsors of road races and there will be an update on retail and restaurant sectors. There may be a vote on opening tattoo parlors on Thursday and some other aspects of business and life in the state.

On Friday from 9 to 11 a.m., there will be a public input session. Josh McAllister, who is involved in Mount Washington Valley sports interests, gave a presentation on a first phase of opening youth sports this summer.

He said he reached out to high school baseball coaches association, athletic trainers, and outdoor coaches of all sports. McAllister said sports were categorized between high physical contact and low.

Softball and baseball are not like soccer or lacrosse as people are surrounding the ball, he said. Baseball could begin first with practice outdoors with a coach and nine baseball and softball athletes.

Both employees and volunteers would need to be familiar with universal guidelines and travel restrictions would ensure that there is no travel with others outside the home. Temperatures would be taken and screening questions asked before practice.

Phase 2 when the teams move toward play, spectators would be physically distanced not only from the players but from each other outside the same family. While they won’t share equipment, the ball will be shared, said state Sen. Shannon Chandley, D-Amherst, a member of the task force.

“How will we account for that?” Chandley asked.

Acupuncture

Adam Lerner of Family Acupuncture in Portsmouth, one of 177 providers, suggested ways to return to treating patients. Gloves could be used during phase one and change them between patients and face masks and lab coats would be worn by the practitioner. All patients would wear face masks at all times in the office.

Waiting areas would be closed and telehealth would be used, spacing and the number of people in a practice would be limited to 10. Patients would be screened, be told the task force and all would be checked with a no-touch thermometer.


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Paula Tracy

Veteran reporter Paula Tracy writes for InDepthNH.org