NJ high school sports to resume after being halted by COVID-19 surge

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Game on, New Jersey!

Gov. Phil Murphy will kickstart indoor high-school and other youth sports this weekend after a month-long delay because of a COVID-19 surge, he said Wednesday.

Restless jocks — including players on ice hockey and basketball teams — can start playing again Saturday but fans will not be allowed to attend games or practices, Murphy announced at a COVID-19 briefing.

“We know sports are important for both the physical and mental wellness of our youth and our other residents,” Murphy said. “We will continue to closely watch the outbreak data and reserve the right to pull this back if we must.”

The green light is a slam dunk for high school basketball teams in the Garden State, many of which were supposed to start practicing in mid-December.

Under the updated rules, teams — including players on adult recreational leagues — are only allowed to exceed the state’s 10-person indoor limit during games and practices, not at social events.

When Murphy announced a four-week suspension on indoor sports on Nov. 30, the state’s 7-day rolling average had spiked to 4,013 —  and was quickly climbing. On Tuesday, it was 3,947.

“Given the safety protocols we have in place and the stability in our [COVID-19] numbers… I have to say, we feel confident we can move forward by continuing to deal with any outbreaks or other issues on an individual case basis as opposed to a blanket prohibition,” Murphy said.

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