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Can organized sports resume? What are the safety requirements for sports facilities?

Last Updated: 11/16/2021

Practices and competitions for indoor and outdoor organized sports, including indoor and outdoor interstate youth sports, may resume in accordance with health and safety protocols.

There are no limits for indoor or outdoor practices and competitions.

Youth sports organizers/coaches should encourage physical distancing of players when not actively engaged in practices and games, particularly when individuals are in an indoor setting where not everyone is fully vaccinated. Coaches should also encourage unvaccinated individuals to continue to maintain physical distance (and mask) before and after practices/games as well.

Masking

Wearing masks is an important prevention strategy to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and is particularly important when not everyone is fully vaccinated, when indoors, and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Unvaccinated Individuals

  • Indoors: Unvaccinated individuals are recommended to wear a mask in indoor settings when not actively engaged in a practice or game. This includes sitting on the bench, standing on the sideline/in a huddle, gathering/setting up sporting equipment, or spectating.
  • Outdoors: Masks are generally not necessary but are encouraged when there is high level of COVID-19 transmission and when close contact with other unvaccinated individuals cannot be avoided.

Fully Vaccinated Individuals

  • Indoors: It is recommended that fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of high COVID-19 transmission or where there is increased risk. This includes crowded settings, close contact with others who may not be vaccinated or whose vaccine status is unknown, and if the individual or household member is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease.
  • Outdoors: Masking is not generally recommended for fully vaccinated individuals. Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease, or not fully vaccinated.

For more safety recommendations, refer to the NJ Department of Health's Guidance for Youth Sports.

Additional Public Health Recommendations

Facilities and participants should also abide by a number of health and safety protocols outlined in the Department of Health's Guidance for Sports Activities, such as screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff; limitations on equipment sharing; and requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces and equipment. Local school districts, collegiate conferences, and other sports operators may impose additional restrictions on spectators.

Source: Executive Order No. 239; Executive Order No. 242; https://nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/COVID_GuidanceForSportsActivities.pdf