NJ health department unveils COVID-19 guidelines as organized sports resume June 22

Soccer ball
Posted at 2:28 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 14:28:44-04

NEW JERSEY — The health department released COVID-19 guildance as organized sports may resume in New Jersey beginning June 22, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

Low-risk sports may resume competitions while medium and high-risk sports can resume non-contact drills and practices, Murphy said during his daily coronavirus briefing.

“Sports is an ingrained part of so many of our communities, in our lives, in our families, and we want everyone to get out and play, but even more, we want everyone to be safe,” he said.

If the state’s data continues to progress in its battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, Murphy said he anticipates competition for medium-risk sports to resume on July 6 while full practices and competitions for high-risk sports will likely resume on July 20.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli laid out several guidelines players, staff and spectators must follow:

  • Organizations must create a program preparation plan that outlines policies for resumption of activities.
  • Identify coaches and staff members
  • Signs, tapes, physical barriers can be used to assist in social distancing
  • Athletes encouraged to wear face coverings during down time, not during periods of physical activity
  • Limit shared equipment; cleaning and disinfecting must be done in between uses
  • Parents, staff, visitors to wear face coverings
  • Athletes, staff must be screened prior to entering facility
  • Program leaders required to divide large teams to smaller groups and stagger practices at different times or across different days
  • Non-essential visitors, staff, spectators, vendors must be limited
  • Sanitizing materials must be readily available at any area prone to gathering
  • Routine cleaning and disinfecting

The announcement comes as the state entered Stage 2 of reopening. Under Phase 2, outdoor dining, non-essential in-person retail and curbside pickup at libraries are allowed. Child care centers can reopen and drop-off and pick-up services at the Motor Vehicle Commission may also resume.

New Jersey has reported over 167,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with nearly 12,700 deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to the health department.