New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is allowing indoor sports to resume in New Jersey in the New Year, but teams won't be permitted to play out of state when play resumes on Jan. 2.
The games can resume with coronavirus-related safety measures in place. Spectators won't be allowed if participants, coaches and referees exceed the state's limit of 10 people gathering indoors.
Murphy made the announce at his 144th and last coronavirus news briefing of 2020, which was held virtually Wednesday afternoon.
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The Toll Coronavirus Has Taken on New Jersey
New Jersey has reported more than 472,000 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with more than 4,600 new cases reported Wednesday.
The most recent spot positivity was 15.19% on Dec. 26. Murphy noted that the higher rate of people testing positive for the virus was probably due to mostly people with symptoms or fears of exposure testing around Christmas.
More than 3,700 people were hospitalized in New Jersey with coronavirus as of late Tuesday. More than 700 of them were in intensive care.
Nearly 17,000 deaths are confirmed to be from coronavirus complications, with 99 new deaths reported Wednesday. More than 2,000 more deaths are presumed to be due to COVID-19.
Murphy noted the toll that coronavirus has left on families in his state: "In 10 months, COVID-19 has cut a deep scar across countless families, entire communities, and indeed our entire state. We have fought this virus together, embraced new practices, battled through our pandemic fatigue, worked hard to protect our loved ones and to save lives."
He urged people, again, to wear masks, socially distance from each other and wash hands thoroughly.
In recent days, Murphy has warned people against spreading COVID-19 at large New Year's Eve parties, instead encouraging people to celebrate at home among just immediate family.
"We know that 2021 will bring better days, but we’re going to have to greet the new year on the same war footing with which we’re ending 2020," Murphy said hopefully.
Focusing on Vaccines
On Wednesday, Murphy announced that the Garden State has launched a new vaccination landing page for information about inoculation plans in the state at covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.
He has touted the state's expanding vaccination program that now includes residents and staff at long-term care facilities and veterans homes.
Around 120,000 doses of the vaccines, so far, have been reserved for long-term care facilities.
The goal for New Jersey is to get 70% of the adult population in New Jersey vaccinated for COVID-19 during 2021, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli reiterated Wednesday.