Murphy just changed rule to make sure parents can see their kids play indoor sports

Posted Apr 07, 2021

More spectators will be allowed to attend indoor high school and youth sporting events amid the coronavirus pandemic after Gov. Phil Murphy loosened restrictions Wednesday.

The governor’s office removed a 150 person limit on indoor sporting events for “necessary people” at the practices and games effective immediately. But all venues are stilled barred from exceeding 35% of the room’s total capacity.

Athletes, coaches, referees, as well as up to two parents per athlete under the age of 21 are now considered necessary. Previously, only athletes and sporting staff were necessary to the game, which meant, at times, two parents per athlete couldn’t attend an event because it would exceed the 150 person limit.

The order essentially clarifies up to two parents or guardians can attend as long as spectators don’t exceed the 35% room capacity, officials said.

“As our vaccination effort expands rapidly across the state and our entire adult population becomes eligible, it is now possible to take further incremental steps towards a return to normalcy,” Murphy said in a statement Wednesday evening announcing the new order.

Spectators must still follow all other restrictions and Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including social distancing and mask-wearing.

Murphy banned all indoor sports in the state for four weeks late last year. At the time, organized sports were allowed to resume beginning Jan. 2, but teams had to abide by new rules — including prohibiting spectators at games.

The news came the same day health officials announced another 3,578 cases of the virus and an additional 45 deaths as hospitalizations rose to the highest number of patients since mid-February.

New Jersey’s seven-day average for confirmed cases is 3,559, down 11% from a week ago, but up 26% from a month ago. Officials have warned that a surge in cases from variants that are more easily transmissible is likely driving the recent infections. Increases in hospitalizations typically follow a week to 10 days later.

Murphy said outbreak models show a peak in cases and hospitalizations by April 18 in both the best case and moderate case scenarios. In a high scenario, the peak would come in mid-to-late May.

In all, New Jersey has now reported 824,179 coronavirus cases out of more than 12.3 million PCR tests since the state reported its first case on March 4, 2020. There have also been 113,800 positive antigen tests. Those cases are considered probable, and health officials have warned that positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometimes given in tandem.

The state of 9.2 million people has reported 24,749 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19 — 22,176 confirmed deaths and 2,573 fatalities considered probable. The probable deaths, which are revised weekly, increased by five on Wednesday.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-04-08 02:36:09 -0700