Basketball Rims Being Removed from Park Due to Non-Mask Wearing

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Charlie Breitrose

The newly resurfaced basketball courts at Casey Park, including new lights.

The rims have been removed from the basketball courts at Watertown’s Casey Park because of repeated violations of the face covering requirement by people using the courts.

Watertown Recreation Director Peter Centola announced Saturday that the basketball rims will be removed from a town park after people were found playing basketball without face coverings.

Centola said he has been dealing with people playing basketball at Casey Park on Watertown Street for several weeks and he warned them they need to be wearing face coverings. He has even had to call police when a group refused to wear masks and continued to play.

Last week, two rims were removed (one from each of the full basketball courts) in hopes that people would shoot around on the half courts but not play games, Centola said. Recently, Centola found that a group was playing half court basketball with no face coverings, so he decided to take down the remaining two rims.

Under the state’s COVID-19 regulations for youth and adult amateur sports activities basketball is considered a “Higher Risk” sport, along with football, ice hockey and lacrosse.

For the Higher Risk sports, the regulations allow for non-contact workouts, aerobic, conditioning, individual skill work, and drills, but not practices or games. And in all activities, efforts should be made to “minimize the risk of transmission of infection among participants,” the regulations read.

Friday’s Town Manager’s Coronavirus Update said that 486 Watertown residents have tested positive for COVID-19, up 8 from Aug. 28.

Centola sent out the following announcement on Sept. 12:

Unfortunately, those who violated the basketball and face covering regulations of the state and the town did not get the message when we took down two rims at Casey yesterday morning as they were at Casey playing half-court basketball without face coverings last night. Therefore, the other two rims will be taken down at Casey by Monday.

I feel badly about this, especially for those who have been respectful and cooperative as they will miss out on the opportunity to shoot hoops at Casey.

Please consider this a warning to others, as we will certainly make sure the rules at followed at other areas of the town and will not hesitate to take similar measures to make sure our users of our recreational facilities are following the rules and regulations to help everyone stay safe and healthy. 

Please feel free to share this information or contact the Department of Recreation if you have questions, comments or concerns.

10 thoughts on “Basketball Rims Being Removed from Park Due to Non-Mask Wearing

    • Do you really need someone to answer that??? The NBA players have been in a bubble that has ONLY players and Coaches. They also get tested everyday. Smdh

  1. Wow, this is a gross overreaction and downright silly, and I’ll prove it.

    There are many amateur and professional teams throughout the length and breadth of America playing sports these days and, unlike this case in Watertown, many are doing it indoors. So outdoors playing requires masks?

    Local golf courses are open, but suddenly a basketball game is taboo?

    You can riot and loot without masks (remember the looting in Boston on Newbury Street and elsewhere?) but you can’t play a b-ball game in Watertown?

    Groups of people are riding around together in cars without masks. Are we going to ban that too because they’re not social distancing?

    The following is going to disturb everyone and it should:

    Cancer diagnoses are way DOWN compared to 2019 because of the lockdowns of society and doctors offices because of the pandemic:

    This surely means that some people are going to die due to undiagnosed cancer cases. These are part of the costs that certain officials who overreact should take into consideration.

  2. Well Pete your message did not “prove” it to me. It read like something the Donald would say.

    I COMPLETELY support the removal of
    the rims.

  3. Lots of inconsistencies in town regarding Covid.

    First, I agree with the removing of the nets. Casey Parked has been jammed all summer long with night time basketball games and lots of people on those courts with no masks. BUT what about Victory Field and the courts there? I don’t see kids wearing masks there but what I do see is kids pulling them up when someone from the town drives through. That’s not at all effective in the long run for managing covid. My suggestion is remove the nets/rims there also.

    Next, no in person learning for kids BUT sports are allowed? How backwards is that! So my kids can’t go to school even in a hybrid setting with desks 6 feet apart and modifications in place BUT they can play soccer, Field Hockey, etc. That really makes very little sense and it makes me think the decision to close the schools was heavily influenced by the Teachers Union and not by common sense. If my kids can play on a field in a game that involves close contact then they can certainly go to school with modifications in place. Here’s a thought. Start using some of these fields, put up some large open tent structures and hold classes there.

    My wish is that the policies in this town were more consistent and made sense. Right now it seems very random.

    • Schools are indoors. It does rain and snow and get uncomfortably cold, since we live in New England. Your reflexive blaming of unions is odd (school teachers are older and more at-risk than students after all). And, outdoor recreation should follow Covid-guidelines and when those guidelines are more flouted than followed, the Rec Dept. did the right thing. Motto to b-ball players: you’re out and don’t say you weren’t warned.

    • Town boards have not met in person since March. Is that also the union’s fault? Not one corporate office building is fully staffed and many are not planning to reopen until January, but let’s blame the teachers for that one too.

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