empty theater

Sports and Entertainment Venues Can Welcome Spectators on March 1

Plus an increase in capacity for churches and collegiate sport spectators

Starting March 1, sports and entertainment venues with a fixed seating capacity of more than 5,000 people may open for spectators, Gov. Phil Murphy said today at his COVID-19 briefing. A 10% capacity limit will be in place for indoor venues, and a 15% capacity limit will be in place for outdoor venues.

Face coverings will be required except when eating or drinking and all groups must be seated at least six feet apart.

“One reason we can take this step is because fixed seating means that spectators are largely confined to their seats, which minimizes congregating,” Murphy said. “Should the numbers we track everyday continue to go down, we hope and expect to continue to be able to raise these capacity limits as we approach the summer and fall.”

Additionally, the governor announced that houses of worship and religious services can, effective immediately, operate at 50% capacity. He said that masks should be worn at all times, and social distancing should still be followed.

He also announced that indoor and outdoor collegiate sports practices and competitions may allow two parents or guardians per participating athlete as spectators.

 “This mirrors what we put in place 10 days ago for youth sports,” Murphy said. “We have seen this step implemented responsibly, and believe we can expand it as our collegiate sports move into the spring season.”

Murphy noted that collegiate athletic conferences retain the right to impose stricter limits on spectators should they choose.

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