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CLEVELAND (WJW)– It will be “Play ball!” this summer across Northeast Ohio. Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced on Thursday non-contact sports are permitted to open on May 26 following the coronavirus shutdown.

Non-contact sports include baseball, softball and tennis. On Friday, state officials released guidelines on how the sports will be played while keeping safety as a top priority.

Here’s a list of the guidelines that baseball and softball players must follow to participate:

  • All athletes must follow 6-foot physical distancing
  • Game balls must be designated for each team playing defense
  • Athletes not in the field of play must wear face coverings
  • There will be no water coolers and no sharing of equipment
  • No high fives and handshakes
  • There will be no spitting, eating seeds or chewing gum.

There are similar rules for fans, coaches and umpires:

  • 6-foot physical distancing
  • Spectators must keep 6 feet or more distance from the backstop
  • Coaches must wear face masks at all time
  • No spitting, eating seeds or gum
  • Umpires must wear masks at all times
  • Umpires must avoid exchanging documents with teams and players
  • Umpires should allow adequate distance behind the catcher

The changes will become the new norm for the immediate future.

Protocols and start dates for higher contact sports, like basketball, soccer and hockey, have not been released.