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Day Camps, Child Cares and Youth Sports Can Resume in NJ in Coming Weeks

Over the past month as cases of the novel coronavirus have slowed, Gov. Phil Murphy has slowly reopened parts of the shuttered state. In the coming weeks, day cares, day camps and horse tracks can reopen.

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What to Know

  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says more sectors of the state's coronavirus-shuttered economy can begin reopening in the coming weeks.
  • Murphy said Friday at a news conference that horse racing can begin as soon as next weekend, while child-care centers can open on June 15. 
  • Organized sports can return a week later, and day camps can be back by July 6,

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday announced that child care centers can reopen and summer day camps can open in the coming weeks. He is also allowing for non-contact sports to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Child care centers can reopen on June 15, non-contact sports can resume on June 22 and youth day camps can open on July 6, Murphy said. Proper health and safeguards must be in place. Sleep away camps aren't covered by the order.

Murphy said that no decision has been made yet on pools.

New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer said guidance on day camps and child cares will be coming that will lay out the cleaning and other standards needed. Masks will be recommended for children over 2, she said, while noting that if staff has to keep replacing masks that it could be a bigger problems. Masks won't be permitted during nap time.

The return of child care centers and summer camps will help with parents looking to return to workplaces.

The non-contact sports order covers high school and college sports as well and limits practices to 25 people.

Besides the return of child cares, youth sports and day camps, Murphy on Friday also said that he expects that by June 12 the indoor limit on people who could gather would be increased.

The state's coronavirus outbreak trends are heading in the right direction, Murphy said, leading him to loosen the two-month old stay-at-home order. If trends continue to go in the right direction, Murphy said church and other religious services could resume, but he stopped short of guaranteeing their reopening.

"We will continue working with our faith institutions to ensure our houses of worship are strong and safe," Murphy said.

The state's horse racing tracks can also resume races as early as next weekend, with no fans in the grandstands, the Democratic governor said. Online wagering remains open.

As of Friday, there were nearly 159,000 COVID-19 cases reported in New Jersey and at least 11,531 people had died from COVID-19-related complications.  Another 131 deaths were added on Friday.

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have slowed in recent weeks, Murphy has slowly lifted restrictions, especially on outdoor activities. The state's beaches were open in time for Memorial Day, and Murphy approved outdoor graduation ceremonies earlier this week.

Businesses deemed nonessential like casinos, gyms, salons and retail are still closed.

Murphy said Thursday that he expects to require masks be worn in New Jersey's nonessential businesses when they open up. They're currently required inside essential businesses, and he expects to order the same as more nonessential businesses, like retail and restaurants reopen, he said.

On Friday, Murphy reiterated his desire for everyone who wants to be tested for coronavirus to be tested to get a test. There are 208 COVID-19 testing sites across the Garden State.

The more people who get tested, the more data Murphy's administration can use in reopening plans.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli reiterated diagnostic tests, which determine if you currently have an infection, as being critical to data gathering.

The latest spot positivity number (the number of people who tested positive) was at 6% as of May 25.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.

Short-Term Rental Assistance

On Friday, Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver announced financial assistance for lower income families.

"Our administration will be applying at least $100 million to stand-up a short-term rental assistance program for low- and moderate-income families who most need it," Murphy said. "No family should fear losing their home as a result of financial hardship due to COVID-19.

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