Tag: Governor Murphy

Murphy extends parent/guardian fan admission to college athletics, to open other sports venues to limited fans next week

New Jersey Governor Murphy last week opened up high school athletic venues to two parents/guardians per student-athlete, with three weeks left in Season 2, which includes high school basketball.

Now, he’s extending that allowance to college sports – like Rutgers – as long as capacity limits aren’t exceeded, effective immediately.

He made the announcement around 11:30 this morning on the Moose and Maggie show on WFAN 660 AM in New York.

In addition, Murphy is allowing all sports – professional and college – and entertainment venues with a capacity of 5,000 or more o open to ten percent capacity effective Monday, March 1 at 6 am. Outdoor venues can open to 15 percent. The opening also affects entertainment venues such as concert halls and amphitheaters.

That means for the Prudential Center in Newark, which has a hockey capacity of 16,500, as many as 1,650 fans could potentially be allowed.

Parents and guardians will be able to attend the last men’s basketball home game of the year – Wednesday against Indiana – and the last women’s home game of the year, which is slated for March 4th or 5th against Ohio State.

But while the Governor said on the ‘FAN that opening all indoor venues to ten percent capacity could allow the general public to go to games at the RAC, it’s too little to late, and a moot point at the same time.

Wednesday’s last home game for the Rutgers men falls before the new regulations go into effect. The women’s team’s last game comes after the new rules take effect, but the Big Ten has not been allowing fans all season, in order to keep a level playing field among teams in states with varying degrees of regulation.

CLICK HERE to listen to Murphy’s full interview with Moose and Maggie on WFAN.

New York recently announced it would open sports venues to limited capacity as well, with the first to be the Barclays Center for a Brooklyn Nets game Tuesday But while fans there will be required to show negative PCR tests, Murphy said such a requirement will not be in effect in New Jersey.

AUDIO: Governor Murphy announces an Executive Order to allow limited fans at indoor high school sporting events

This story will be updated if Governor Phil Murphy makes additional comments at today’s press conference. Please check back here for updates.

During his regularly scheduled Friday COVID press conference, Governor Murphy announced he will sign an executive order today allowing limited numbers of fans to attend high school sporting events.

Murphy said fans will be limited to two parents or guardians per student-athlete under the age of 21, as long as capacity limits of 150 people or 35 percent of the room’s capacity – whichever is smaller – are not exceeded.

No other spectators will be allowed to attend.

The St. Joseph-Metuchen “Falcon Flock,” the student section that’s often raucous at St. Joe’s basketball games, has been noticeably absent this year due to COVID regulations banning all fans from games. They still won’t be allowed at games this year, but up to 2 parents or guardians per student athlete will be allowed in high school gyms for the rest of the season. (Source: St. Joe’s website)

“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,” said Murphy.

The Governor said the decision was made as “the metrics in our hospitals and elsewhere continue to trend more positive for us.”

“This is something I have been wanting to do for our student athletes and their biggest fans,” Murphy added.

For the limit to be smaller than 150 people, the full capacity of a gym would have to be about 430 people.

Few gyms, if any, in Central Jersey would fall under that category. Edison, for example, has a capacity of 900, including a handful of rows on each baseline. Taking those out, capacity would be 650, still enough to allow up to 150 people.

The NJSIAA responded to the changes with a statement released on Twitter.

“NJSIAA welcomes the Governor’s executive order, which provides an opportunity for limited spectators to attend high school sporting events. We hope this order marks another positive step in the return to play. At the same time, we urge parents to give our member schools time to review the Governor’s order and determine both overall feasibility and a specific process for increasing capacity as outlined.”

Murphy stressed that all New Jersey Department of Health guidelines would remain in effect. Fans will have to social distance – unless in the same family – and wear masks at games. Murphy added that if a positive case arises, all those in attendance would have to assist with contact tracing.

Murphy said while this could allow fans at games as soon as this weekend, local school districts would have the authority to decide when fans could begin coming to games, whether to have a smaller limit, or whether to even allow fans at all.

Click below to hear Murphy’s comments today on allowing fans back at indoor high school sporting events in New Jersey:

OPINION: Why now is the right time to allow limited fans at H.S. basketball games

The news broke on NJ.com shortly after flip-off (no tip-offs!) of our high school basketball game last night between No. 6 Colonia and Edison. The Eagles had finished their Senior Night activities, but no parents were anywhere to be found.

In fact, the game was delayed a bit so that the masked parents – who didn’t even bother to take off their coats, that’s how quick they were in and out of the gym – could get home in time to watch and listen to the live stream of the game.

NJ.com reported that Governor Murphy could announce today that limited fans – possibly with an emphasis or priority on parents of seniors – would be allowed at high school basketball games in New Jersey.

The news was not a complete surprise. The day before the regular season started on January 25th, Murphy hinted that he was leaning in that direction “soon,” though didn’t commit to a policy or timetable.

Fans have been missing from high school basketball games across New Jersey, but a few two-dimensional ones – even a couple furry family members – were present at last night’s girls’ basketball home game against Edison.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will be on the Governor’s virtual COVID briefing today to hear the news, if indeed it does get announced today. (Murphy is holding the call virtually after he went into self-quarantine earlier this week following a positive COVID test by one of his family members; the Governor himself has tested negative.)

I say, it’s about time. And the Governor probably has seen enough feedback from the last few weeks to realize it’s possible.

What also helps is that the people involved in this decision-making/feedback process are parents. The Governor has kids who play high school sports, as does NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire. And the Murphy has sat at the dais during COVID with Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, who is also the head football coach at Hackensack.

Here are three people so closely connected to high school sports, that they get it. They are not handing down rules from some ivory tower,

But are they too close? Are they blinded by the emotion of wanting to see their kids play in person so much that they ignore the science?

Not by a long shot.

What the Governor likely will propose is some sort of highly limited capacity. He’s also talked about prioritizing senior parents. But think about it: high school teams are capped at 14 varsity players.

Let’s say parents are only allowed at home games. Assuming every parent could make every game, that’s a maximum 28 parents. But there are single parents, some who work, and some who have other things going on. So we’re probably talking 14 to 28 extra people in a gym.

Most high school gyms can fit at least a couple hundred fans. Many are larger. I’ve heard the question “Who is going to monitor this? How will we make sure they wear masks?”

It’s certainly easier than it was during football season, where stadiums are much larger and much more spread out.

And the timing – I mean, it could be better – but it’s not bad.

The numbers are coming down in New Jersey. They’re better here than in a lot of states.

They’re far from good, of course. And while we still need to take precautions – wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands often – there’s no reason people acting reasonably can”t come into a high school gym.

Take a look around: New York City sports arenas will be opening to very small capacities in just over a week. Of course, fans will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours, but we’re also talking about 2,000 fans, who likely will have a beer (or two or three) and might be acting rowdy. That won’t be the case with 20 or so high school parents.

I’ve been at four high school basketball games since the start of the season. It was sad to see Edison parents show up for Senior Night, be honored, then have to leave to go home to watch their sons play on YouTube because they’re not allowed in the gym.

But the main thing is this: only three weeks remain in Season 2, for high school basketball. Three weeks, and only very limited opportunities for parents to see their sons and daughters – especially their senior sons and daughters – take the court.

Time is running out faster than we can get a wrap around COVID-19.

The mantra from student-athletes and parents for months had been “Let ‘Em Play.”

Now, I say, “Let ‘Em Watch.” Just maybe not all of them at the same time.

Gov. Murphy signs executive order allowing indoor sports to resume, but fans likely won’t be able to attend

by Mike Pavlichko

It would appear high school basketball and other indoor scholastic sports may be allowed to proceed in New Jersey this winter.

Governor Murphy Thursday signed Executive Order No. 187 allowing indoor contact practices and competitions to resume for sports defined as “medium risk” and “high risk.”

In addition to some of the most popular sports, such as basketball, wrestling and cheerleading, the order also includes hockey, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, and taekwondo.

“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,” Murphy said.

The order, however, is very restrictive and ostensibly would keep fans outside the gym.

The order says all indoor practices and competitions are limited to 25% of the capacity of the room. But while even the smallest high school gyms can fit a few hundred fans for sports like basketball and wrestling, the order also limits those in attendance to “not more than 25 or less than 10” people. It further adds that if the necessary people – including players, coaches and referees – exceeds 25, the event can go on so long as no spectators are present, and the capacity does not exceed 25% of the capacity of the room, or 150 people, whichever is smaller.

All events at the high school level would also have to abide by NJSIAA regulations.

It was not immediately clear how the order would affect media, who have been allowed at outdoor events this fall, such as football and soccer.

It’s also unclear how the order would affect large events like conference basketball tournaments or the state wrestling tournament in Atlantic City, though it’s possible the restrictions could be loosened at some point in the future should the state fare well in keeping COVID-19 at bay.