Health Order Violators: Youth Volleyball Tournaments Being Played in Southern California

At least three tournaments were played at venues in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, with teams from San Diego County participating in at least one

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On the same weekend a student in Vista tested positive while reportedly traveling with a youth sports team, video obtained by NBC 7 shows a club volleyball tournament being played in Temecula in apparent violation of current public health orders.

The video shot last Sunday at Rancho Sports Center in Temecula appears to show at least two teams from San Diego County taking part in the tournament.

The video shows games being played indoors, with all of the players wearing masks. Onlookers appear to be socially distanced and are also wearing masks.

Temecula is in Riverside County, which moved into the most restrictive purple tier last week. San Diego County is in the red tier. Competitive sports are not permitted in either tier.

The host club and two local teams have not responded to emails or phone messages for comment. Meanwhile, a master schedule obtained by NBC 7 shows games were also played in Laguna Beach and San Bernardino.

“We are very concerned," San Diego County public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. "We can tell people what the recommendations are, but people have to take the responsibility and collective action to adhere to these recommendations.”

News of the tournaments did not surprise County Supervisor Jim Desmond, however, who says they’re a direct result of inaction from the state to provide guidelines and a safe environment for youth sports.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of COVID fatigue out there," Desmond said. "Parents are frustrated, children are frustrated, and, unfortunately, these are going to happen more often.”

The Southern California Volleyball Association (SCVA) is the governing body for club volleyball. The organization has not returned emails or calls from NBC 7.

But on the SCVA website, the organization appears to sanction the tournaments by laying out COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines for tournaments like the one held in Temecula.

An official with another San Diego volleyball club, who did not want to be identified, said the tournaments would not be happening without approval from the SCVA. The official also said parents are likely unaware the tournaments are in violation of state health orders.

It appears there will not be any further tournaments held in the immediate future in Temecula.

“We did contact the event organizer and sent an advisory letter,” said Brooke Federico, a spokesperson for the county of Riverside.  "It’s our understanding that the organization is not planning additional events."

According to a San Diego County health official, there have been around a dozen positive COVID cases connected to youth sports teams traveling out of state. To date, there have not been any positive cases connected to Southern California volleyball tournaments.

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