As the state of Maine lifts its outdoor mask mandate student athletes will also no longer be required to wear them but are not completely gone from sports.

The Maine Principals Association which oversees scholastic sports said that masks do not need to be worn during outdoor practices and competitions, effective immediately. Spectators will also no longer be required to wear them as long as six feet of social distancing can be maintained.

Masks will still be required when athletes go inside to a locker room, use the bathroom or are on a bus. If six foot distance is difficult to maintain outdoors in situations such as sitting on a bench a mask must also be worn.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills lifted the state mandate on Tuesday effective immediately in line with updated guidance from the CDC as the risk of transmitting COVID-19 while outdoors is low especially as more people become vaccinated.

"Scientific studies continue to show that outdoor activities are much safer than indoor ones. As more Maine people become vaccinated against COVID-19, outdoor activities become that much safer," Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah said.

Masks remain a requirement of scholastic sports in New Hampshire despite Gov. Chris Sununu completely lifting the state's mask mandate.

The state's "Safer at Home" guidelines require all participants in youth sports including athletes, parents and staff to wear a mask "when not actively engaged in athletics." The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) took it a step further by requiring athletes who are in close contact to wear masks "when possible."

Sununu says he will be changing the "Safer at Home" guidelines on May 7 into what he calls "universal best practices"  with details yet to be released including how that will affect mask requirements for student athletes.

No pro leagues or the NCAA requires athletes to wear masks during competition.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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