The WOBM Christmas Classic resumes on Sunday (December 26) and there are still 36 games left in the 37th annual edition of the shore’s biggest holiday basketball tournament. As I write this the new variant has COVID dominating conversations and people scrambling when it comes to how they can gather safely during the holidays.  Rapid tests are in great demand and trying to get an appointment for a PCR test is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Of course I have the extra responsibility of trying to run a high school basketball tournament during a very challenging time and I wanted to share with you the steps we at the WOBM Christmas Classic have taken to that end.

As of today (December 23) there are no mandates from the state in regards to masks, capacity, etc.  In addition the NJSIAA has not announced any restrictions leaving it up to individual schools and as far as I know most are operating under normal procedures when it comes to spectators.

Two days before the tournament began our friends at Microbe Solutions, LLC came in and sanitized most of the areas being used inside the RWJBarnabas Health Arena. This included the ticket booth, lobby, concession stand, bathrooms and locker rooms used by teams.  In addition they have placed four hand-sanitizing stands in high traffic locations including the two entrances into the arena. They have also provided two-ounce bottles of their Common Sense hand sanitizers at both the ticket booth and their on-site location. They will continue this for the duration of the event.

I can’t imagine there are many high school facilities with a capacity of over 3,000.  The size of the facility allows most if not all fans to socially distance if they chose too as rarely do we have more than half the seats filled at any one time. In addition we are encouraging spectators to wear masks in the bleachers and had them available for free at the ticket booth last weekend and will do so again when we resume.

We are doing our very best to provide an environment that is safe for both players and spectators. Of course should protocols change before the tournament ends on December 30 we will follow those guidelines.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.


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