Covid-19 Recommendations

AGA Recommendations for Running Tournaments Safely with Respect to Covid-19 Issues

Late Breaking News


Note: Last update: 08/15/2022 -- update dates for links below, and change notes are in those documents.

Although State government masking, and other mandates are being relaxed, our recommendations remain quite conservative. That is because playing face to face is a much higher risk activity than shopping, or eating at a restaurant.

While case rates have risen somewhat nationally in early Summer influenced by the now dominant Omicron .B5 sub-variants, projections by trusted prediction models such as the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) indicate improvement in weeks and months to come. COMMUNITY LEVELS have been improving and are now low or medium risk) in many counties. Note: Community level is now considered a more useful metric for determining policy than case reports. We therefore continue to feel it is reasonable to organize face to face competition PROVIDED that strong measures are taken to protect those of us who are more vulnerable from serious illness by maintaining a safe playing environment. In general, we recommend that vulnerable people mask, and that others respect that choice by masking also, in their presence. This was policy at the Go Congress, and worked well there. We continue to recommend full vaccination at a minimum (or medical exemption), with updated status desired as a requirement to participate. This may be an uncomfortable burden for organizers who "don't want to be cops". But those who have taken this step (i.e. the National Go Center, and Seattle Go Center) have not had any problems. Most people appreciate the extra care. See the documents below for details.

We are encouraging organizers to start planning for major events in late Summer and Fall. These are subsidized by the AGA and require a longer lead time and more planning. Any Chapter can organize such an event. See tournament support and State Championships for details on these programs.

For more casual smaller events like meetups or club meetings, the risk is lower simply because of the reduced exposure time, but use similar care.

Local conditions vary widely. Some counties are quite low risk. It is important to adapt to your local conditions. See links below to get local information.

Consult with your local Public Health District authorities about local conditions, Health Districts are usually county based, so they will be able to speak to your very local situation. Most counties in the US are no longer showing red (highest risk) on a map of COVID risk, and many are showing green (low risk). For those who want to do their own deep dive into CDC statistics for their County See here for either a graphic or spreadsheet presentation.

Historical note:

In early 2020, the AGA called on all to simply stop face-to-face tournament play. A lot has happened since.

In July 2021, we established this page, and advised that with proper precautions, face to face competition could resume.

Vaccines are highly effective and readily available. Treatments have been created and are also now very effective and widely available. We now recommended that with a little inconvenience and some patience, it is possible for most folks to compete with reasonable safety.

While the CDC does not have specific guidelines for Go or other game tournaments, our recommendations seek to interpret the CDC’s more general guidelines. Noting that two people sitting across from each other for an hour in a closed room is exactly the circumstance in which COVID is most likely to spread, we are strongly recommending masks. However, given the CDC’s identification of touch transmission as a very low risk, we are not suggesting cleaning of stones and boards. Nonetheless, we do recommend that sanitizer, gloves and spare masks be made readily available to all, and the AGA is willing to provide supplemental funding to offset the costs of providing that support. Please email planning@usgo.org with a copy of your announcement and your tournament rating report to get reimbursement for those costs. Follow the links below for our detailed recommendations.

We expect continued improvement, but it is important to remember that the “prudent response” to COVID remains a moving target. We will be reviewing the current status of CDC and other guidelines frequently and will adjust our recommendations to reflect new information. It is also important for local organizers to follow local news and government guidance, since the pandemic affects different areas differently. Your local Public Health District is usually an excellent resource for accurate, science based and locally focused information, and they usually do have a phone number to call with specific questions.


Please write to planning@usgo.org with any questions.