NEW JERSEY — Practice that involves contact and indoor sports scrimmages will once again be possible despite the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday as he signed a new executive order.

No. 187 allows for sports defined as “medium risk” and “high risk” by the New Jersey Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities” to resume activities inside.

The sports comprise hockey, basketball, cheerleading, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, and wrestling.

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Prior to the order, Murphy had allowed a number of athletics to play or conduct their practices outdoors — while officials continue to report an upsurge in new cases.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for our student-athletes, support staff, and school communities,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “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.”    

Both games and practices will be maxed at 25% capacity.

“[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,” the governors' office said in a statement.

With the above exception, the order mandates that a practice and games cannot surpass 150 people.

The Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities" has outlined a number of protocols that should be in place, including screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff, limitations on equipment sharing and the need to for disinfect and sanitize surfaces and equipment.

Still, it will be up to high school leagues and college conferences whether they compete this fall.  

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