Rejoice. Youth sports have resumed. Games and tournaments will start soon. Wednesday's announcement from the governor means fans will be able to attend, although in limited numbers. Owatonna Basketball Association (OBA) and Owatonna Youth Hockey Association (OYHA) have prepared their protocol outlines in order to keep kids on the courts and rinks in town.

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OBA President Matt Ginskey wrote, in a posting on their website, "Thank you for your continued patience, flexibility and support of OBA. We are excited to get back into the gym..." Tournaments will resume around January 16. He says that some schedules have changed and you should check your team's home page for updates.

"Masks will now be required for ALL practices and ALL games at ALL times for players and coaches/fans. Please take some time to ensure your player has a mask (and several backups) they are comfortable practicing and playing in," he states.

Ginskey also writes, "As a board, we made the decision to hold all registration fees until the first tournament of the season had been completed. That continues to be our policy, so registration checks will not be deposited until the week of January 18. With the shortened season, we do anticipate some portion of registration fees to be refunded to families." Read the full letter.

OYHA provides detailed guidelines on their approach and health protocols for the season. President Dave Swenson urges anyone with any illness symptoms, to stay home, "If sick for any reason stay home, get rest, and get healthy."

Among the guidelines, "Use only the main, south facing entrance to enter the building. Use only the double doors in the southwest corner of the east rink to leave the building. Everyone entering the building must wear a face covering at all times...Have your players as dressed as possible before they come to the rink."

Swenson adds, "The more caution we take, the better chances we have of minimal interruptions to our respective seasons and fun. By now, we all know the common sense measures we can all follow to keep our kids on the ice this season. If we all do our part we can prevent interruptions for all of us."

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