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Can organized sports practices resume? Can professional sports resume?

Last Updated: 08/07/2020

Organized Sports

Organized sports activities have restarted in stages.

Low-risk, non-contact sports, such as golf and tennis, can resume practices and competitions, indoors and outdoors.

Medium- and high-risk sports, including baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, and football can resume contact practices and competitions in outdoor settings only. Non-contact practices and drills can resume in both indoor and outdoor settings.

The Department of Health has issued guidance for organized sports with further details on which sports are defined in which category, how to create a sports program preparation plan, how to prepare a facility for sports practices, how to conduct sports practices, and how to prepare for games and tournaments.

All sports will have to abide by a number of health and safety protocols in the guidance, including screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff, limited equipment sharing, and strong requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing equipment.

Staff, parents, guardians, and visitors are required to wear cloth face coverings at practices and games. Athletes are encouraged to wear masks during downtime, but not during physical activity.

Sports under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) must abide by those associations' rules.

All competitions or tournaments must abide by the limit on outdoor gatherings, which is currently limited to 500 people.

Professional Sports

Professional sports teams which train or play in New Jersey can practice and engage in games or matches, if their leagues resume competition.

The State has been in constant discussions with these teams about the protocols they will have in place to protect the health and safety of the players, coaches, and team personnel - including facilities where proper sanitation and hygiene practices can be readily maintained.

Source: Executive Order No. 148; Executive Order No. 149, Guidance for Sports Activities; Executive Order No. 161; Executive Order No. 163