UPDATE: Indoor school sports ban applies to NJ games, practices, organized activities, and even adult tournaments

All indoor organized sports at youth, high school and adult recreation levels – games and exercises alike – will be suspended for four weeks to help fight the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday.

University and professional sports are not affected by the “full and complete break,” as Murphy called it, which takes effect at 6 a.m. on Saturday and runs through Jan. 2.

The order applies to youth, high school and adult league basketball, hockey, swimming and other indoor sports. Almost all high school sports had already been postponed to January, although hockey began practice in mid-December.

As to whether this applies to indoor sports clubs, classes, or classes, Murphy says it only covers indoor organized sports.

“It doesn’t contain you, or I’m going to a cage,” he added.

Murphy said the move aligns state rules with the efforts of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and neighboring states.

“We’re not taking this step lightly,” the governor said at his recent corona virus briefing in Trenton, where he also announced that outdoor assembly limits will be limited to 25 people starting next week. “As people know, I’m a big sports fan and all my kids are playing.”

“I hope and intend to visit the winter sports season in January,” Murphy added. “I would like to see the high school age group play in their final season and I appreciate the importance of sport for the physical and mental well-being of our children. But we are experiencing epidemics related to indoor sports, and this is a cautious, short-term move to slow the spread. “

Youth sports “have resulted in a number of epidemics,” said Dr. Ed Lifshitz, medical director of the State Department for Infectious Diseases at the Department of Health. For example, he said, 20 epidemics and more than 100 cases were linked to youth hockey.

“A break in these activities will help slow the spread of the virus,” Lifshitz said. “However, these new restrictions should be part of the increased vigilance of all New Jersey residents during the holiday season. Everyone has to do their part. “

Murphy said there were 28 epidemics in the state related to indoor sports, affecting 170 people.

Earlier this month, the governor ordered the suspension of all interstate indoor youth sports.

Despite the new limit, outdoor sports will still be allowed because the people needed for the games – athletes, coaches, referees and staff – will not count towards the 25-person limit. But viewers will not be admitted if that number exceeds 25.

Asked about the science with which the state made the decision, Murphy noted that outbreaks related to outdoor sports had erupted and recognized officials were “less concerned about outdoor gatherings”.

But he said now that the high school football season is over, “it’s time to cut that outdoor limit as well”.

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Murphy also suppressed rumors on Monday that he was planning a nationwide shutdown, as he had founded in March, and insisted that the state be “on a much better footing” than in the first wave in the spring – when knowledge, stocks are limited and tests.

Instead, Murphy said, the state is now “able to focus more and become more surgical”.

“We have much better data and science than we do eight months ago now – and we can focus the restrictions on those activities that have been proven to be the biggest ones with the risk of transmission,” he added.

Murphy said the main concern is in state hospitals, where the number of COVID-19 patients has more than tripled in the past month. There were 2,961 patients with confirmed or suspected cases on Sunday night – the most since May. This includes 575 intensive care patients, 332 of whom are on ventilators.

“The stability of our healthcare system begins with carefully chosen steps to prevent the spread of the virus,” Murphy said.

Officials have also warned that although the coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon, the outbreak could be severe in the coming months as people spend more time indoors, especially during the winter holidays.

New Jersey reported an additional 3,199 COVID-19 cases and another 15 deaths on Monday.

The state’s seven-day rolling average for new cases is 4,014 – down 1% from a week ago, but still more than double the 1,751 cases reported on the first day of the month.

Nationwide transmission speeds fell again to 1.11, compared to 1.14 on Sunday. This is the lowest transmission rate since Sept. 19 and reflects that while the epidemic continues to expand, growth is slowing, officials said. But any number above 1 means that the outbreak of the state increases.

The new rules, announced Monday, are the latest round of recent restrictions ordered by Murphy as the state was hit by a second wave of pandemic.

Earlier this month, Murphy ordered New Jersey bars and restaurants to close in indoor service at 10 p.m. every day. It banned all meetings in covered bars and empowered counties and municipalities to close non-essential businesses at 8pm to try to slow down. the spread.

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Brent Johnson available at [email protected].