2021 | Sports

Montgomery County reinstalling basketball hoops as sports return

County Council lifted restrictions on March 19

Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson reinstalls a basketball hoop.

Photo courtesy of Montgomery Parks

Montgomery County’s parks department is reinstalling basketball hoops as outdoor sports return.

The County Council lifted some COVID-19 restrictions on sports on March 19, with the condition that organized sports organizations submit a COVID protocol plan and have it approved by Dr. Travis Gayles, the county health officer.

The protocol plan includes a contact tracing tracking sheet, a face covering requirement, maintaining social distancing, and a student attestation or athlete/coach monitoring form.

Sports that are not part of an organized league are required to adhere to the county’s crowd-size limit of 50 people outdoors and 25 indoors. Face coverings must be worn when social distancing is not possible.

Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson posted a photo of himself on March 25 by a basketball hoop. He wrote that it was almost a year ago that basketball rims were removed in response to the start of the pandemic, to discourage crowding.

“I hated doing it, because one of the things I love most about my job is finding ways to encourage people to get outside and enjoy our parks, so when I learned that we had clearance to put the hoops back up I couldn’t wait to climb up a ladder and start bolting them back on,” he wrote in the post.

Melissa Chotiner, a spokeswoman for the parks department, told Bethesda Beat on Tuesday that it will take about three weeks to reinstall the hoops.

In the weeks after the pandemic started in March 2020, state and local law enforcement authorities received multiple calls for people playing outdoor sports in groups of more than 10, in violation of Gov. Larry Hogan’s crowd-size limit at the time.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com