NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Rutgers plans to increase spectator capacity at its athletic venues effective immediately.

In accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order No. 225, which was announced Monday morning, the university plans to permit two parents or guardians of each Rutgers student-athlete to attend sporting events held on campus, while the total number of spectators are not to exceed 35% of the venue's total capacity.

Although the order allows for indoor facilities with a fixed-seating capacity of over 5,000 people to operate at 10% of its total capacity and 15% for outdoor venues beginning March 1, Rutgers Athletics will abide by the Big Ten Conference requirement that fan attendance be limited to the four tickets allotted to each coach and student-athlete for family members only.

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Murphy’s announcement Monday morning noted that collegiate athletic conferences retain the discretion to impose stricter protocols regarding spectators, including for events that take place in large venues.

Executive Order No. 225 also increases capacity for religious services.

Religious services and celebrations, including wedding ceremonies, funerals and memorial services that involve a religious service, will be able to operate at 50% capacity of the room in which they are held, with no cap on the number of individuals permitted to attend.  Services were previously limited to 35% of the room, up to 150 individuals. 

Individuals attending services will still be required to wear masks and sit six feet apart from those outside of their household group.

“As our COVID-19 metrics continue to trend in the right direction and as we continue our aggressive vaccination effort, we believe we can safely take this step,” Murphy said in a statement released Monday. “We have always strived to make accommodations wherever safely possible, be it with religious services, sporting events, entertainment venues, or in other sectors. I am pleased that we are able to increase these limits today and hopeful that the numbers continue to point in the right direction for further reopening steps.”