SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Organized youth and adult sports can resume in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
The announcement comes as both counties dipped below the state's threshold for allowing the activities to resume.
California requires a county's COVID-19 adjusted case rate to be below 14 per 100,000 for sports to start up again.
San Luis Obispo County met that mark in late February.
As of Tuesday, Santa Barbara County's adjusted case rate is 13 per 100,000. Ventura County's is 10.6 per 100,000.
The drop in case rate allows for high-to-moderate contact outdoor sports, including high school football and basketball, to resume. Santa Barbara and Ventura county schools have been waiting anxiously to start practicing.
In those county's, the earliest football games could take place on March 18-19.
Modifications laid out by the California Department of Public Health requires the use of face coverings by observers and coaches and athletes who are not actively participating. Spectators will also need to continue to practice physical distancing between people who do not live in the same household.
There are also restrictions in place for competitions played in counties with higher case rates. Those restrictions include weekly testing for players and coaches who participate in higher risk sports like rugby, water polo and football.
High-contact outdoor sports like football, basketball and rugby can also resume under that standard, but only if all coaches and players 13 and older get tested once a week. Test results must be available within 24 hours of competition.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will pay for the tests.
This resumption of sports includes school sports, community programs, private clubs and athletic leagues, but only applies to outdoor sports.
For more information on high school football in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, click here.