N.J. extends ban on interstate hockey games due to COVID outbreak

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic he’s extending the ban on interstate hockey games was set to expire Sunday.

New Jersey already has an indefinite ban on interstate indoors sports for certain age groups, including high school programs that was announced in November. Since then, governors of neighboring states and the region have signed on and agreed to put interstate hockey games on hold.

But New Jersey will continue the ban on all indoor sports — including hockey — whether or not the same group of governors agrees on another extension of the ban, Murphy said.

“We continue to work with our partner states on maintaining the regional compact prohibiting interstate youth hockey,” Murphy said Friday during his regular briefing.

“Regardless of whether or not the multi-state effort remains, we in New Jersey will continue to prohibit interstate youth indoor sports competitions within the four walls of New Jersey,” he said. “We know that interstate travel and associated activities among teams are particularly risky, as these settings create opportunities for the virus to spread.”

The original executive order stated, “…a number of these outbreaks involved teams and leagues that regularly participate in interstate competitions; and…health officials across the Northeast region have pointed to interstate youth sports competitions as a source of viral spread.”

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that sports competitions between teams from different states involve the highest risk of spreading the virus of any sports activity, according to the order.

Restrictions under the order include:

  • All interstate games and tournaments involving indoor sports, up to and including high school teams, will be barred.
  • College and professional sports are not covered by the order. Those programs, the order said, were able to put in place coronavirus-prevention efforts, including subjecting participants to regular testing and mandating where players live.
  • The order defined “indoor interstate youth sports competition” as any “indoor interstate youth sports competition that is conducted indoors with opposing teams or individuals from different states competing against each other and which would require an opposing team or individual to travel from a state outside of New Jersey.”

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Matt Arco may be reached at [email protected].

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