Governor Murphy Announces Clarification of Gathering Limit for Certain Indoor Sports Activities and Removal of Restrictions on Self-Service Food at Retail Businesses

 

Governor Phil Murphy and State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan announced an administrative order which adjusts gathering limits for non-professional and non-collegiate indoor sports activities. The adjustment clarifies that athletes, coaches, up to two parents and guardians per participating athlete under the age of 21, and other individuals necessary for the practice or competition do not count towards the general indoor gathering limit, which is currently 25 persons.  The order also allows retail businesses to permit customers to utilize self-service food, such as buffets and salad bars.

“As our vaccination effort expands rapidly across the state and our entire adult population becomes eligible, it is now possible to take further incremental steps towards a return to normalcy,” said Governor Murphy. “Clarifying gathering limits to allow more spectators at sports activities and allowing the return of self-service foods are two small steps of what we hope are many more measures we can take as millions of New Jerseyans are vaccinated.”

The order clarifies that non-professional, non-collegiate athletic practices and competitions that are conducted indoors are subject to the current indoor gathering limit of 25 persons. Athletes, coaches, referees, trainers, and other individuals who are necessary for the practice or competition are not included in the number of individuals present at a gathering for purposes of the limits on gatherings. Operators of such sports activities may permit up to two parents or guardians per participating athlete under the age of 21 to attend the event provided that all attendees abide by the applicable requirements in the DOH’s “Guidance for Sports Activities.” Such parents and guardians shall also be considered necessary for the practice or competition. In no case shall the number of persons present in the room, inclusive of parents and guardians, exceed 35 percent of the capacity of the room.

The order also clarifies that retail businesses, such as grocery stores, may permit customers to utilize self-service food, such as buffets and salad bars. Such retail businesses shall limit self-service food and drink stations to those that can be routinely cleaned and disinfected.  To the extent that such retail businesses permit indoor or outdoor dining, the business shall abide by the DOH’s guidance governing those operations and the requirements of all applicable Executive Orders.

The order takes effect immediately.

A copy of the Administrative Order can be found here.

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