Day care (June 15), youth sports (June 22), day camps (July 6) to reopen — churches expected to get go-ahead June 12

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | May 29, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced dates the state will reopen day care centers — and when it will allow for the resumption of youth sports, rec camps and horse racing.

He also said he anticipates being able to raise the limits on indoor gatherings in a way that will allow for greater indoor religious services for the weekend of June 12.

As for the dates:

  • Child-care centers will be allowed to reopen their doors to all clients starting June 15.
  • Organized sports activities will be able to restart June 22.
  • Youth day camps, including municipal summer recreation programs, will be able to operate July 6.
  • Horse racing will resume competitive races next weekend, but without fans.

Murphy said the state is able to do this because of a continuing path of improving health metrics. Putting dates on openings will go a long way to appease the governor’s critics.

Murphy said he will offer a deeper dive of more reopening steps Monday.

Murphy said the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families will release the health and safety standards that will guide each of the openings.

Here are his thoughts on the various openings.

On child care:

“Having these centers open throughout this emergency for the children of our essential workers has been a necessity for our doctors and nurses, public health and safety first responders, grocery and other essential workers, and their families,” he said. “But, now, as we prepare to take the first true steps of our restart and recovery, and as more and more workers prepare to get back out to their jobs, we must ensure a continuum of care for their children.”

On youth sports:

“Organized sports activities will be able to restart June 22,” he said. “However, at that time, activities will be limited to sports activities conducted outside, and there can be no contact drills or activities for the time being.

“Especially for the countless kids who have been looking forward to playing baseball or softball, or soccer, or other sports, we are proud to take this first step. We want you to have an active summer with your friends, playing the sport you love — while protecting your health.

On day camps:

“Beginning July 6, youth day camps, including municipal summer recreation programs, will be able to operate,” he said. “As it goes with our decision regarding sports, we want our children to be able to enjoy their summers with their friends, participating in the activities that create lifelong memories. We know day camp is one of those memory-building places.

“And, our camps are also places that give older kids a chance to have their first jobs, as counselors. We are pleased that these opportunities for growth and leadership will also be open this summer.”

On horse racing: 

“After weeks of close consultation with our racetracks and our horse breeders, horse racing will also resume — with the first competitive races as early as next weekend. In fact, the first qualifying races happened this morning.

“At this time, we will not be able to allow fans back into our racetrack grandstands. But, online gaming remains open and capable of taking your wagers.

On places of worship:

“As long as our health metrics continue to trend in the right direction, I anticipate being able to raise the limits on indoor gatherings in a way that will allow for greater indoor religious services for the weekend of June 12,” he said. “My administration will continue our deep partnership with our faith communities as we work through the proper safeguards that will need to be in place before we can welcome our communities back into their houses of worship.

“We don’t want any opening to have an adverse impact on our communities. And, we know some faith institutions are not ready to open, and we will work with you and respect when you feel it is safe to do so.

“Our houses of worship are cornerstones of our communities —often rooted in historical and cultural tradition. We want them to be strong — and safe. This is especially meaningful in our communities of color, which have been hit particularly hard.”

Murphy said the state can take these steps because of the improving health metrics.

“As we have seen, the data continue to move in the right direction, and continue to be far down from the peak,” he said. “And, especially over the past two critical weeks, even though we have seen some days with spikes, we remain confident in our overall direction.”

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