By Jordyn Sava
With the arrival of June, New Jersey residents are preparing for an unorthodox summer. Events and social gatherings are still limited and social distancing measures are still being implemented — and many are left wondering what their summer will look like, especially when it comes to seasonal sports.
During his press briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the return of some organized sports, providing the state with some good news in this time of crisis.
Starting June 22, contactless outdoor organized sports will be given the green light and can resume practices and games. Murphy later clarified that this would include college and high school sports as well.
At the College, nothing has been set in stone regarding a return to campus in the fall. Students are hopeful for a normal semester, including sophomore business management major Jordan Adleman, who plays for the College’s lacrosse team.
“I already saw my 2020 spring season canceled after only one game, so I’m hoping my next season will have no major changes,” she said.
Adleman also explained the difference between how spring and fall sports may look. For spring sports like lacrosse, their seasons remain a mystery.
“I am not sure what it means for sports like lacrosse that are spring-oriented, but I hope that we can get together to practice normally by the time classes begin.”
While a detailed range of activities has not yet been listed, Murphy emphasized the importance of following the safety procedures put into place by health officials, leagues and the state as a whole.
“We want you to have an active summer with your friends playing the sport you love, but at the same time protecting your health,” Murphy said in a press briefing.
Additionally, these games must adhere to the state’s limitations on outdoor gatherings, which now limits groups to 25 people. As long as teams follow these guidelines and rules to ensure the safety of everyone involved, they should be allowed to start their practicing and competing by the end of the month.
The CDC has published a list of sports and their varying risk levels in relation to Covid-19. Lower risk sports include those where players can stay six feet apart easily including individual running events, golf, throwing events, and weightlifting. Higher risk activities include football, wrestling, competitive cheer, dance, and anything that requires immediate contact with others.
Sports such as baseball, softball, gymnastics and tennis have been considered moderate risks as there can be certain measures taken to decrease the risk of the virus spreading with the right precautions. According to the CDC, if equipment is cleaned throughout games, masks are worn, and space is distanced between players, the risk of transmission decreases.
Though Murphy has yet to make a clear list of the exact sports given the okay to start back up on June 22nd, residents have speculated based on the actions of other states and the guidelines of the CDC what can and cannot be considered a “non-contact sport.”
Gov. Murphy also announced that professional sports teams which play and train in the Garden State would be allowed to resume activity as long as their league gave approval.
“Professional sports teams in NJ may return to training and even competition — if their leagues choose to move in that direction,” Gov. Murphy tweeted on May 26. “We have been in constant discussions with teams about necessary protocols to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, and personnel.”
Teams such as the New York Giants and New York Jets who train in New Jersey have already discussed plans of reopening for the future. These teams as well as others, like the Philadelphia Flyers and the 76ers, are currently working closely with Gov. Murphy, their league, and health experts to find the most effective and safe ways to return to their sport.
Murphy’s announcement has provided the approval needed for these teams and many more throughout New Jersey to begin training once again. As for the Jets and the Giants, both teams reopened their training camps on Wednesday, June 3, according to NorthJersey.com.
At this time, indoor activities remain banned under the order, but with the curve lowering each day in the state, changes could be on the way.