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US Conference of Mayors looks to get sports and rec back and safely

A high-level advisory group of some of the country's leading public health and sports experts has been established to advise mayors and sports and recreation officials on safe policies and practices as cities reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The newly-established U.S. Conference of Mayors Advisory Panel on Sports, Recreation, and Health is a joint venture between The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Health, and the NYU School of Professional Studies Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport.

"We want to bring the best advice to mayors and other officials as they think about ways to open up their playgrounds, recreation centers, swimming pools, and youth sports programs this year. We want to bring the best in scientific findings to help them develop practical and safe solutions for their communities," stated Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics at NYU Langone Health and the founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics. Caplan, a renowned author and national health commentator, will serve as one of the co-chairs of the Advisory Panel.

"Mayors need this type of assistance as we move forward to reopen our cities. We are pleased these experts will help us develop and implement the right policies and programs to allow our residents to safely once again enjoy sports and recreation activities," stated Reno (NV) Mayor Hillary Schieve, Chair of USCM's Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment, and Sports Committee who will serve as one of the co-chairs of the Advisory Panel.

"Everyone wants to bring sports and recreation programs back as soon as is safely possible. The demand is as much for professional sports as it for youth sports, local parks and recreation programs, high school and collegiate sports, and reopening of our stadiums and arenas. Cities, sports leagues and organizations will need to do this in a safe and responsible way," stated Lee H. Igel, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor at the Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport at the NYU School of Professional Studies. Igel will serve as one of the three co-chairs of the Advisory Panel.

"Mayors and major sports leagues are going to have to work together to provide a safe environment for the players and the fans. This advisory group will provide a good platform for everyone to exchange ideas and get information directly out to mayors, sports leagues, and our sports venues," stated Orlando (FL) Mayor Buddy Dyer, Chair of USCM's Mayors Professional Sports Alliance and a co-chair of the Advisory Panel.

"Mayors are on the front lines battling this pandemic and need this kind of advice to help them safely reopen their communities, especially for families and children. I'm happy this panel will be available to all mayors as we bring the best experts together to assist them in their planning now and in the future," said Rochester Hills (MI) Mayor and USCM President Bryan K. Barnett.

"Bringing mayors together with leaders from the health and sports worlds will enable both groups to learn from one another on ways to safely implement sports and recreation programs in cities," stated Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director. "This advisory group will allow mayors to get their questions answered as they go about safely reopening up their cities."

In the coming months, the Panel will add members as issues arise. It will also be conducting research, surveys, and reports using the resources of both organizations.

U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. On Facebook at, or follow on Twitter at

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