Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Monday giving the go-ahead to medium and high-risk sports like cheerleading, basketball, football and hockey to resume indoor play. Previously sports were relegated to outdoor games and limited indoor drills, but with some COVID-19 precautions, most sports will be allowed to resume in some capacity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for our student-athletes, support staff, and school communities,” said Governor Murphy in a statement. “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.”
Sports practices or games are limited to 25 percent capacity or 25 people, whichever is lower. If there are more coaches and athletes than that number, then spectators won’t be allowed to watch the games. If there are more than 25 coaches and athletes, the number of people participating cannot be larger than 25 percent of the room’s capacity, and this limit cannot exceed 150 people.
Facilities have to abide by health and safety protocols from the Department of Health, which were issued this summer when sports and practices resumed. Athletes, coaches and staff have to do temperature and health screenings, equipment sharing should be limited and all surfaces and equipment must be sanitized. Decisions about whether a school is participating in indoor sports are left up to the school district or college. As with outdoor sports, spectators and coaches/staffers must wear cloth masks while at games. Athletes should not wear masks while playing, but should wear masks when possible when not playing or practicing.