‘They have to be smart about it’: Gov. Murphy announces all indoor youth sports to be suspended starting Saturday
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday all indoor youth sports in New Jersey will be suspended starting Saturday because of the climbing COVID-19 caseload.
Gov. Murphy said the pause would begin at 6 a.m. and go until Jan. 2. It covers all youth sports, but excludes college and professional athletics. Swim classes are allowed, but a swim team cannot practice or have a meet.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a statement that the order would affect only the start of high school ice hockey.
The governor says there have been nearly 30 outbreaks and 170 COVID-19 cases from youth ice hockey alone.
“Highly upset, but it’s very necessary between all of the teammates and everybody getting COVID-19, I feel like it puts a lot more people at risk, so it’s probably the necessary move to make right about now,” says Justin Thomas, of Bloomfield.
Former New Jersey Devils’ player Grant Marshall teaches at the Cody Arena in West Orange. He also agrees with and respects the governor’s decision.
“The parents are frustrated, but they also understand this isn’t just a game, it’s life and death and they have to be smart about it,” says Marshall. “We all have to be selfish and think about that if we want to get back to normal season, we have to really use our help do the right thing to do the right protocols.”
The new ban does not affect sports-related classes or activities such as dance, gymnastics or the batting cages, but they still have to follow the 10-person indoor gathering limit.
Interstate youth sports have already been banned, so the decision does not directly affect those leagues.