'Low-risk' youth sports and more libraries are reopening in Erie County

Officials warn people to follow health safety rules or things can be closed again
Posted at 7:18 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 19:47:19-04

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — Governor Cuomo announced, over the weekend, that 'low-risk' youth sports can resume on Monday, July 6. Those include baseball, softball, field hockey, gymnastics, cross country, and crew.

That is good news in the Town of Tonawanda where the baseball diamonds are expected to be immediately in operation with young ballplayers.

"I can't wait to see the little ones when they get out here this week for tee-ball. They have to be chomping at the bit," said Mark Campanella, Sr., Superintendent of Parks & Recreation for Tonawanda.

While the game of baseball will be the same, how it is handled, so people stay safe, will be different, explained Town Councilman Bill Conrad:

  • Players must leave their equipment bag with parents and not at the dugout.
  • Baseball players must put on a mask when leaving the field.
  • Social distancing will be enforced by umpires and coaches.
  • Spectators will not be allowed to 'clump' together in the bleachers
  • NYS is allowing only two spectators per player and those people will not be allowed to congregate around the benches.

"We have three little girls. To be able to get them out of the house and enjoy some activities, away from their sisters, is going to be wonderful," added Jeannine Doyle, whose daughters are set to start soccer school in Orchard Park.

Doyle is also the Chief Operating Officer for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, where she has been busy helping the library reopen more branches to the public.

As of July 6, the library opened 35 of its 37 branches. One in Lakeview remains under construction and another in Angola is too small for social distancing accommodations.

"You see families coming in and it is such a 'sigh of relief.' It brings us back to some normalcy," said Doyle.

While the library branches are open for the public (and will provide a cool place during the current heatwave), there are new requirements and changes that everyone should be aware of:

  • Masks are required. You will be asked to leave if you don't wear a mask, unless you have a medical reason for not doing so.
  • All returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours.
  • Tables and chairs have been spaced out.
  • Several computer workstations have been placed 'off limits' to users to prevent people from being too close together.
  • The library branches are operating with fewer hours.

Officials are reminding the public to follow health safety rules or things, that have taken a long time to reopen, could be closed very quickly if Covid-19 begins to spike again in this region.