Murphy OKs limited fans at top sport, entertainment venues

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – Fans will be allowed to attend sporting and entertainment events at New Jersey’s largest facilities in limited numbers starting next week, Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday.

The sites of New Jersey with an indoor seating capacity of 5,000 or more will be allowed to have 10% of those seats occupied by fans from March 1, the Democratic governor said on sports radio station WFAN.

For the sites outdoor spaces with more than 5,000 seats, the number will be 15% of the capacity.

Murphy said he decided to allow limited in-person attendance after looking at a wide range of coronavirus-related statistics, including hospitalizations, number of hospitalizations versus discharges, overall positivity rate for the COVID-19 and the rate of transmission, and determining that small crowds can be safely allowed.

He said facial blankets and social distancing will be needed in these places.

“If you buy tickets together you can sit together, but if not, we have to go our separate ways,” he said.

The ordinance applies to major arenas in the state, including the Prudential Center in Newark, where the NHL’s New Jersey Devils play, and outdoor stadiums, including Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, which is home to the New York Giants and Jets of the NFL.

The governor said about 1,700 to 1,800 fans should be allowed to attend Devils hockey games according to the new rules.

“This is a day that all of our staff have been planning, working on and looking forward to for the past 11 months,” said Devils president Jake Reynolds. “Those who enter the building will be confident that our process and protocols are aimed at making their safety the number one priority.”

Murphy said he was optimistic that by the start of the NFL season in September, capacity limits could be further increased, barring major setbacks in handling the pandemic.

“I’ll be shocked if we’re not at a higher capacity for the Jets, the Giants, for the Rutgers as we move into the fall,” Murphy said. “We have to do it in a safe and responsible manner.”

In a related announcement, Murphy also said parents or guardians of college athletes will be able to attend to their children. games effective immediately, a milestone that was recently taken for high school athletics.

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