TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- All indoor youth and adults sports in New Jersey are now suspended because of the climbing COVID-19 caseload.
The pause began at 6 a.m. Saturday and goes until Jan. 2.
Governor Phil Murphy said Monday it covers all youth and adult sports, but excludes college and professional athletics.
"We do not take this step lightly," said Murphy, a father of four. "As folks probably know I'm a huge sports fan and all of our kids play sports. I hope and intend to see the winter sports season in January."
The Democratic governor also said that the outdoor gathering limit would be reduced from 150 to 25 people beginning Monday, Dec. 7. The change won't affect outdoor dining, he said.
Murphy has tightened restrictions on indoor gatherings recently in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Indoor dining is restricted to 25% of a restaurant's capacity, and no indoor dining is allowed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, with exceptions for events such as religious ceremonies.
Travelers from out of state are urged to quarantine for 14 days, but Murphy has said the state is relying on the honor system for compliance.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a statement that the indoor youth sports order would affect only the start of high school ice hockey.
"We're hopeful that, with schedule modifications, the ice hockey season will be viable when the state's pause is lifted," the association said in an emailed statement.
New Jersey, like much of the country, has seen spiking cases and hospitalizations.
Nearly 15,000 new cases of the virus were reported in the first three days of December alone.
On Friday, New Jersey reported 5,673 new cases for a statewide total of 356,662. There were 48 new deaths for a statewide total of 15,419.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.