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Gov. signs order allowing resumption of indoor sports

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed Executive Order No. 187, allowing the resumption of contact practices and competitions in indoor settings for organized sports defined as “medium risk” and “high risk” by the New Jersey Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities.”

The order encompasses sports including ice hockey, basketball, cheerleading, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo and wrestling, according to a press release from Murphy’s office.

Murphy previously signed executive orders which 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, according to the press release.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for our student-athletes, support staff and school communities,” Murphy was quoted as saying in the press release.

“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,” he said.

All indoor practices and competitions are limited to 25% of the capacity of the room, but not more than 25 or less 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 the exception applies, the number of individuals at the practice or competition cannot exceed 25% of the capacity of the room, and such limit cannot exceed 150 persons, according to the press release.

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, according to the press release.

Additionally, sports under the oversight of either the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association or the National Collegiate Athletic Association must continue to abide by those associations’ rules. All sporting activities must comply with all applicable laws, regulations and executive orders, according to the press release.

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