TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has given his blessing for student-athletes and children across New Jersey to resume indoor sports training. The arbitrary decision, not really based on any actual science was made last week after a similar non-scientific decision was made last month to shut down sports. On many occasions, Murphy conceded that indoor sports were not a source of COVID-19 outbreaks. Murphy did single out hockey as a sport that has been prone to COVID-19 outbreaks and subsequently shut down interstate hockey competition and later, all interstate sports competitions.
“I know that a lot of people have been waiting for this one, we have an update on our indoor sports. We are allowing the indoor sports pause, which we implemented on December 5th, to expire this Saturday, January 2nd, and for indoor sports to resume that day. So given the safety protocols that we have in place and the stability in our numbers over the past months, although stability at an uncomfortably high level, I have to say, we feel confident we can move forward by continuing to deal with any outbreaks or other issues on an individual case basis, as opposed to a blanket prohibition,” Murphy said. “Further, we recognize that any continuance of the pause would likely mean that many sports seasons would have to be scrapped entirely and we do not wish to see that happen. We know that sports are important for both the physical and mental wellness of our youth and our other residents. We will continue to closely watch the outbreak data and reserve the right to pull this back if we must.”
Governor Phil Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan today announced Administrative Order 2020-25, which clarifies that indoor sports practices and competitions are subject to current indoor gathering limits, which was most recently set at 10 persons. However, practice or competition can proceed with more than 10 persons if individuals who are not necessary for the activity, such as spectators, are not present. The total number of individuals still may not exceed 25 percent of the capacity of the room in which the practice or competitions takes place, and such limitations may not exceed 150 persons.
The order further clarifies that the restrictions on interstate youth sports competitions in Executive Order No. 194 (2020) also apply to youth sports competitions conducted outdoors.