NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) — A statewide shutdown is only a rumor.

That is the first thing Gov. Phil Murphy wanted to clear up as he continues with the scalpel method – increasing restrictions as new issues arise.

Monday, he focused on outdoor gathering and indoor sports.

CBS2’s Meg Baker reports on the second spike, as New Jersey reached 15,164 COVID deaths.

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“For perspective, the total number of New Jerseyans killed in both World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam combined is roughly 18,300. So in eight months, we’ve lost nearly as man New Jerseyans that died in a war in a 60 year span,” Murphy said.

There were 3,199 new cases Monday, with a state positivity rate of 11.34%.

“We know outdoor is safer than indoor, but during this dangerous time period any mass gathering creates risk,” Murphy said.

Gov. Murphy is retightening the limit on outdoor gathers to 25 people, effective Dec. 7. This doesn’t effect outdoor dining. Religious and political activities are exempt, as are funeral services and wedding ceremonies.

“The gathering limits are back to what they were in May and June, when we all came together and crushed the curve,” Murphy said.

Effective Dec. 5 through Jan. 2, all indoor youth and adult sports practices and competitions are being placed on a full pause. The move comes after more than 100 cases have been linked to indoor ice hockey.

So, teams are starting to get their last practices in before indoor sports are put on ice, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported.

Some hockey parents like Patricia Ryan are frustrated. She says her son’s team, the New Jersey Colonials, takes every precaution. For example, parents watch remotely.

“The boys are getting dressed in the parking lot. Our club has a health screening done online every day before they go to the rink,” Ryan said.

Watch Meg Baker’s Report:

Parents at Codey Arena in West Orange said they saw the restrictions coming. Still, they’re sad for the players who worked hard.

“It’s hard to be shut down, but we understand we all have to stay safe and healthy,” said Paige Jisaitis.

“Everything has been safe. We haven’t even had a scare on the team. So, it’s a little disappointing, especially being home-schooled right now. It’s their only activity during the day to get out,” another parent said.

These new restrictions apply only to indoor sports, so outdoor ice hockey is not affected.


Other athletes like Nathan Welsh, a swimmer at Westfield High School, say sports are a much needed break from screen time after learning virtually.

“Swimming helps me balance schoolwork and it’s a daily part of my schedule and routine,” he said.

“I hope and intend to see the winter sport season in January. I want to see, especially that high school senior, get to play her or his last season,” Murphy said.

Gov. Murphy says he values the importance sports play in the physical and mental well being of our kids, but it’s just a different year.

Meanwhile, parents of young hockey players are hoping the infection rate drops so their kids can get back on the ice soon.

“Hopefully the numbers come down a little bit and then the governor thinks it’s a good move to open everything back up again,” a parent said.

The state is also implementing an enhanced testing program for all long term care facilities – all staff, visitors and residents will be tested to combat the spread.