The sound of a cheering parent made its return inside Montclair State University ice arena Friday.READ MORE: COVID Impact On Youth Sports: New Jersey Parents Petition Gov. Murphy To Increase Indoor Spectator Capacity To 50%
Two parents or guardians per athlete are now allowed to attend indoor and outdoor events.
Murphy said he’s dropping the restrictions because COVID cases and hospitalizations are dropping around the state.
Thirteen-year-old Adam Avery, of Butler, was glad to hear the news.
He told CBS2’s Cory James he has missed seeing his mom in the stands supporting him.
“Sometimes I would look over there and I’d see her wave to me and I’d wave back,” he said. “It gave me an adrenaline boost that made me play better, I feel like … So now with her there, I’m hoping to play better.”
Parents say when they were not allowed to go inside the arena to watch the games, they actually sat in the parking lot, streaming them.READ MORE: Problems Persist, Glitch Causing Canceled COVID Vaccine Appointments In New Jersey
“So there were parents sitting in their cars, idling in cars, for, you know, sometimes two hours waiting for their kids to finish a game,” Susan McDermott, of East Hanover, said. “So it’s been very challenging.”
With the latest change, attendance for indoor events cannot exceed 35% of the room’s capacity or 150 people total.
Rita Mitchell, general manager of the Montclair State University ice arena, said they are taking it a step further and only allowing one parent in for each player to ensure safety.
“We are back-to-back games every hour or hour and half, and because of that crossover and that tight timespan, if we let two parents per player in, at that crossover time, we would go over the 150 max,” she said.
The increased efforts give her staff time to properly disinfect spaces, areas that require face coverings and social distancing.
“It’s good to be back,” parent Lois Avery said.
One more sign of growth and progress during a challenging time for everyone.MORE NEWS: Bergen County Health Officials Create Equity Team To Bridge Racial Gap In COVID Vaccine Distribution
Murphy said it will be up to leagues and schools if they want to let fans back into the stands.