NEW JERSEY — Citing COVID-19 numbers in the state, Gov. Phil Murphy, has instituted a number of other new restrictions. 

All indoor youth and adult sports are being placed on a full pause, effective 6:00 a.m. on Dec. 5th through January 2nd, 2021.

"We’re seeing outbreaks related to indoor sports, and this will help slow the spread," Murphy said, adding that the only exceptions will be collegiate-level and professional teams.

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Starting Dec. 7 at 6:00 a.m., the number of people that can gather outdoors will also be capped at 25. This will not impact outdoor dining, religious or political activities, funeral, memorial services or wedding ceremonies. Outdoor dining is unaffected by this announcement.

“Let me reiterate that separate groups who are dining outdoors at our restaurants do not constitute a single gathering. Outdoor dining is unaffected by today's announcement it continues to be governed by the health and safety regulations already in place,” Murphy said.

“As you start to make your holiday plans please recognize that the gathering limits are back to what they were in May and June, when we all came together and crushed the curve as much as any state in the United States,” Murphy continued. “We continue to urge you to keep gatherings as small as possible, particularly with individuals outside of your household. As I've said our steps continue to be dictated by careful analysis of science and data.” 

"Our concern remains the situation in our hospitals. Maintaining the stability of our health care system and ensuring the ability of our frontline medical workers to treat patients starts with implementing restrictions that will keep people from becoming a hospital patient," Murphy said.

"We also took the steps we had to in the spring because we were faced with severely limited testing capabilities, shortages of critical PPE and ventilators, scarcity of scientific knowledge about this virus, and no vaccine timeline." 

Latest COVID numbers

There were 15 more deaths attributed to the coronavirus as of Monday, for a total 15,564 confirmed (an additional 1,829 are considered “probable”). 

Murphy confirmed another 3,199 new positive cases for a total of 337,304. The state has 2,961 COVID-19 hospitalizations, taking into account 263 residents discharged and 378 patients admitted. From the hospital census: 757 people are in intensive care and 332 are on ventilators. The positivity rate is at 11.34% and the rate of transmission (Rt) is 1.11. The governor said on Wednesday he will release a breakdown and discuss the state’s second wave modeling, “to give you all a better idea of what it is we are potentially up against.”

The governor noted that the positivity rate numbers refer to a "relatively small" number of tests done on Thanksgiving Day, and thus the figures should be taken "with a grain of salt."

Refusal to work with contact tracers

Gov. Murphy reported that the state now has approximately 3,000 contact tracers on the ground, but nearly 70% of individuals refuse to cooperate with contact tracing efforts.

"This is not a witch hunt. This is about protecting you, your loved ones, and your community," he says. "Take the call."

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