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NJ Day Cares, Youth Sports, Summer Camps Can Reopen in June

 – New Jersey day cares, youth sports programs and summer day camps will resume in the next few weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy said at his Friday news conference. Imgres

Child care centers, except for those approved to care for the children of essential workers, were closed on April 1 by the governor's executive order. They will reopen on June 16.

All non-contact sports can resume on June 22. Murphy said that includes all youth sports, including those that are school sponsored. Summer day camps will begin on July 6.

The governor said he will be announcing additional guidance but has not indicated if it will include nonessential retail or restaurants. It will include indoor worship services, Murphy said.

“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 12th,” the governor said. “We will continue working with our faith institutions to ensure our houses of worship are strong and safe.”

Murphy also announced the first competitive horse races are scheduled for next weekend. The first practices occurred on Friday, he said.

The state has remained under a stay-at-home order since March but Murphy has allowed restaurants to offer to-go services and business he deemed nonessential to offer curbside services. The shutdown has resulted in high unemployment, which has led to families struggling to pay their rent.

A $100 million temporary rental assistance program for low-to-moderate income families will open for applications in July with payments beginning in September, according to Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver.

Families who qualify will pay 30 percent of their income toward rent with the program paying the rest for up to three months.

“From the moment this crisis took hold, we’ve made it clear that New Jerseyans should not fear losing their homes as a result of financial hardship caused by COVID-19,” Murphy said. “We’ll continue working closely with our legislative and community-based partners to further strengthen protections for tenants.”

Twenty percent of the funding will go to help homeless and very low-income families and individuals with up to 12 months of rent assistance.

The program is funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, which is also providing additional funding to help New Jersey residents with help on their utility bills through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

“Governor Murphy and I understand that loss of employment or diminished income during the COVID-19 pandemic may make it very difficult for people to pay their energy bills,” Oliver said. “We also recognize that people who previously weren’t eligible for utility assistance might be eligible now because their employment situation has changed.”

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