TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order allowing the resumption of contact practices and competitions in indoor settings for organized sports that are defined as medium risk and high risk by the New Jersey Department of Health.
The new order, which takes effect immediately, encompasses sports such as hockey, basketball, cheerleading, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo and wrestling.
The governor had previously permitted the resumption of outdoor sports activities, low-risk practices and competitions in indoor settings, and non-contact indoor practices for medium-risk and high-risk sports.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for our student-athletes, support staff, and school communities,” Gov. Murphy said. “After consulting stakeholders and medical experts, we have concluded that, with proper public health and safety protocols in place, indoor sports may now resume in a way that protects players, coaches, and staff.”
All indoor practices and competitions are limited to 25 percent of the capacity of the room, but not more than 25 or fewer than 10 persons. However, if the number of individuals who are necessary for practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, exceeds 25, the practice or competition may proceed if no unnecessary individuals such as spectators are present. Even if this exception applies, the number of individuals at the practice or competition cannot exceed 25 percent of the capacity of the room, and such limit cannot exceed 150 persons.
Facilities and participants must abide by a number of health and safety protocols outlined in the Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities,” such as screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff; limitations on equipment sharing; and requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces and equipment.
Additionally, sports under the oversight of either the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association or the NCAA must continue to abide by those associations’ rules.
Follow local coronavirus news at: https://starnewsgroup.com/coronavirus/
Subscribe today! If you're not already an annual subscriber to The Coast Star, get your subscription today! For just $34 per year, you will receive local mail delivery weekly, with pages and pages of local news and online access to our e-edition on Starnewsgroup.com.