New Jersey, home to several major league sports teams, will allow a limited number of fans to join sports and entertainment events with as many as 5,000 or more seats as early as next week, Gov. Philip D. Murphy said on Monday.
Indoor venues will be limited to 10 percent of their seating capacity, while outdoor spaces will be limited to 15 percent of capacity, Mr. Murphy said in a radio interview on SFAN. Programs may begin at 6 am next Monday
Mr. Murphy’s announcement was made by New York Governor Andrew M. A similar decision came two weeks after Cuomo, whose plan allowed fans with 10,000 or more seats to begin this week, provided that seating was limited to 10 percent.
Mr. Cuomo’s announcement covered a number of New York City-area sports franchises, such as the Nets, Knicks, Rangers, and Islanders, which may be open to fans in the stands starting Tuesday itself. New York attendees must show proof of a negative PCR. Testing for coronovirus within 72 hours of occurrence.
Mr. Murphy said that New Jersey would not require test results, but places people would be required to cover face in sports and stay socially distant. Public health experts say that when considering indoor ceremonies, the quality of ventilation is important because the virus is known to spread more easily indoors.
Cases in New Jersey, while still high, are now on the decline, reported near level in early November. The state averaged 33 cases per 100,000 residents per day over the past seven days, as of Sunday. This was the third highest per capita rate of new cases after New York and South Carolina last week.
The governor’s announcement would allow the Devils, their state’s pro hockey team, to play home games starting next Tuesday, the team’s first home game since the changes.
“This is a day for which our entire staff has been planning, working and looking forward to the past 11 months,” team president, Jake Reynolds, said in a statement.
The state also has two pro football teams, the Giants and Jets, and a Major League Soccer team, the Red Bulls. Mr Murphy said he hoped that after the season started later this year, those teams would still be fans.
Mr. Murphy said, “If we are not a Jats, Giants, Rutgers with a high level of ability for football, you will name it, because we come in the summer and fall.”
Many other states have already allowed sports fans during the epidemic, especially in outdoor stadiums for football and baseball. But Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Murphy protested until December, when Mr. Kyomo worked with the NFL to allow a limited number of fans to a Buffalo Bills playoff game at their open-air stadium.
Mr. Murphy also said that New Jersey will begin on Monday to allow parents and guardians to allow their children to play both indoor and outdoor college sports, provided they meet the capacity limit. The state reopened high school sports to parents earlier this month, with indoor attendance limited to 35 percent, or 150 people.
The governor said that New Jersey would allow the operation of worship and religious services in homes with 50 percent capacity. The limit is a maximum capacity of 150 people from the previous cap of 35 percent.
Alison Saldanha Contributed to reporting.