WAYNE, NJ - For parents who have not had the chance to watch their children compete live in indoor winter sports like basketball and hockey, your time has come. Gov. Phil Murphy recently announced that he has eased some restrictions on the number of spectators that can attend high school and other youth sporting events both indoors and outdoors.
"I want to start with an announcement that I know many athletes and many moms and dads have been waiting for. I'm signing an Executive Order today, effective immediately by the way, to allow a limited number of spectators for all indoor and outdoor high school and other youth sporting events. Basically, all non-collegiate and non-professional sports," Murphy said.
According to the Athletic Directors at Wayne Valley, Dave Drozjock Wzyne Hills, Jeff DiLollo, both Wayne high schools are now allowing two parents/guardians for each player to attend home games in the main gym but all must complete a COVID-19 prescreening form before they enter the school. At this time visiting team spectators are not allowed.
Part of the Governor's order is that the attendance of parents cannot exceed 35% of any room's capacity or 150 people, whichever is less.
All spectators must follow the guidance from the Department of Health regarding sports activities, which includes requirements to wear a mask, observe social distancing, and most importantly, stay home when you're sick, or you think you've been exposed.
Drozjock told TAPinto that "we need to continue to keep our players, and now their parents/guardians, as safe as possible during the pandemic, so we will follow all CDC, NJDOH, NJSIAA, Wayne DOH and Wayne Township School District protocols and guidelines for COVOID-19."
"As a former parent of High School athletes I understand the experience of actually being at their games and having those memories of watching your son/daughter compete," added Drozjock.
Wayne Hills AD, DiLollo was happy when he heard about the lifting of this restriction.
"I believe that getting our students and spectators back into our athletic facilities in a safe manner is a positive step in the right direction," he said.
The Valley Athletic Director said that the timing of the order couldn't have been better. "We scheduled our Boys Basketball Senior Day on Saturday, February 13th," Drozjock said. "Our Senior parents were able to be there and celebrate their sons' accomplishments over the last four years for Wayne Valley Basketball. Our parents could not have been more appreciative of being allowed to have those special moments with their sons."
Many Wayne parents will be excited to attend the undefeated Wayne Valley Girls Basketball team host the 5-2 Wayne Hills team on February 18. Unfortunately, because of the order, the visiting Hills parents won't be allowed to attend.
"I know many parents, especially those of our senior athletes, have been anxious to get back into the stands to cheer on their student athletes in what may, for many, be their final season of competition," Murphy said, adding that COVID metrics continue to trend more positively in the state.
"This is something I have been wanting to do for our student athletes and their biggest fans. I urge everyone to take the proper precautions," Murphy added. "I do not want to have to reverse course, no one wants to reverse course on this, but should we see trouble spots, we will have no choice, and we'll respond as needed."
"But that said, we welcome parents, our kids' biggest fans, back into the arena, and we hope your athlete has a successful season," the governor said.
John Mooney of TAPinto SPFanwood contributed to this article.