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Mesa City Council sets new rules for youth sports tournaments: Enforce mask-wearing

The new protocols set by the Mesa City Council say event organizers are supposed to enforce already existing protocols or the tournaments could be canceled.

MESA, Ariz. — Editor's note: The above video is from a Dec. 3 newscast.

Two weeks after the city of Phoenix canceled youth sports tournaments at city facilities over the next several months due to the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona, the city of Mesa has new guidelines for youth sports tournaments.

The Mesa City Council voted Monday on "enhanced safety protocols" for youth and amateur sports tournaments held at city-owned facilities. 

The city says these new protocols require event organizers to strictly enforce already existing protocols, like face masks for spectators, social distancing and reducing capacity on sports fields.

The city says if these new protocols, to enforce already existing protocols, don't happen, games or tournaments could be canceled. 

Last month, 400 youth soccer teams traveled to the East Valley for a tournament as COVID-19 numbers in Arizona continued to worsen.

After Phoenix canceled youth sports tournaments at city-owned facilities for the foreseeable future, the city of Tempe followed by halting sports tournaments to avoid large group gatherings. 

As of Tuesday, in the past two weeks, there has been a 157% increase in the 7-day average of reported COVID-19 deaths in Arizona, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations reached 3,702 on Monday, setting another record.

Arizona’s cases, deaths and hospitalizations were already steadily rising before Thanksgiving, when gatherings and travel were expected to further spread the coronavirus.

Arizona reached 400,000 reported coronavirus cases on Dec. 12, 19 days after reaching 300,000 cases on Nov. 23.

The state received its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday.