According to a new emergency order by Gov. Tim Walz there will be a pause on youth and adult sports in Minnesota starting Friday at midnight.
The news of the order comes after a briefing by the Governor on Wednesday night explaining a wide variety of restrictions that are to be rolled out across the state. Walz insisted that athletes around the state have made many sacrifices every time they have been asked too, but added that this pause will be influential in slowing the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state.
“I understand. It’s not easy, and it’s not fair. But it’s a sacrifice that we need to make. If we don’t do that, and we continue this spread, we will with absolute certainty put our hospitals at risk and those that need the care,” Walz said. "Just to be clear: No one thinks that this is easy. And no one thinks this is fair in how it's hitting. This virus is not fair.”
This sports pause is set to last until Dec 18. The emergency order covers both outdoor and indoor sports through the league, according to a tweet from the Minnesota State High School League’s John Millea. The order also includes practices, group workouts, games and tournaments.
Athletic Director Norman Gallant had a lot to say on the Governor's decision on Wednesday night. He stressed that he hopes the decision will make community members realize that COVID-19 is here and it is really effecting Wadena and the surrounding area.
"Obviously it is a huge disruption but it's what needs to happen, I think. We have dealt with quarantines and with athletes who have tested positive," Gallant said. "I think when you open your eyes and look at it from a societal stand point our hospitals can't handle it right now and when we do these things there is a risk someone gets hurt and we can't get them treated or more people get sick."
Gallant referenced a case of a Duluth youth hockey player who suffered a collar bone injury the last weekend and was unable to be seen in the city and came back to Wadena to seek treatment. He added that that scenario is something that put the whole situation in perspective for him and made the possible consequences of COVID-19 real for WDC athletic programs.
"That is a huge consequence of this whole thing," Gallant said. "That brought it home for me."
WDC will be able to have some sort of closure for their volleyball season as they are scheduled to play Pillager on Thursday and Menahga on Friday. He added that he understands the frustration in both parents and athletes, but hopes the WDC community can try and realize the bigger picture.
"My daughter is a junior and I want nothing more than to watch her and her friends play basketball this winter," Gallant said. "It's going to be good for our community and our healthcare workers and hopefully slow this thing down."