Wellington has given the green light to host a soccer tournament this weekend, but some community members are concerned with COVID-19 cases still climbing.
The village said it has seen concerns from parents via social media and email with only days until the Wellington Shootout, a tournament put on by the Wellington Soccer Club. The concerns are in regard to an influx of thousands of children coming into the village for the tournament, which will be held at Village Park and Wellington Green Park.
In years past, the tournament has hosted nearly 300 teams. But in a message sent to parents Tuesday, the soccer club stated it has been decided to scale the tournament down to 150 teams.
Because of this, this weekend's tournament will include boys' teams only. The girls' tournament will be determined in the next few months.
"The club is limiting parents to one parent per player as far as attendees and spectators," Village Manager Jim Barnes said.
Barnes said most events in Wellington have been canceled in the first quarter of the year, but it was decided to hold the tournament because there will be better control of attendees.
"Allowing us to accommodate social distancing guidelines and other safety precautions," Barnes said.
The village said the players will be spread over 25 fields, and the start times will be staggered to limit crowds.
Parents and families will be responsible for temperature checks, but referees will be checked by staff.
The Wellington Soccer Club and the village have also implemented the following safety measures:
- Reduced number of teams from 280 to 150
- No back-to-back matches (45-minute interval between games)
- Teams who complete a match must leave the field prior to teams in-waiting are permitted to enter
- Parents/spectators will be required to socially distance and wear masks
- Soccer club will provide field marshals to ensure protocols are enforced
- Restrooms will be cleaned more frequently throughout the day
- Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the park
- Food vendors will be placed in designated areas
- Stage used for award presentations will not be utilized
- PBSO will be on site
- No other rentals or programs will take place at Village Park during the tournament
- Florida Youth Soccer Association has approved the tournament