Gov. Phil Murphy wont say what it would take for him to issue sweeping new lockdown orders like he did in the spring, but insists that option remains on the table.

In the meantime, Murphy is expected to announce tighter restrictions today on gatherings and youth sports. NJ.com, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the policy, is reporting all indoor youth sports, including basketball, hockey, wrestling and swimming will be cancelled until at least Jan. 2. The governor's order is not expected to affect college or pro sports.

Murphy is also expected to announce outdoor gatherings will be capped at 25, according to the report. Earlier this month, he reduced outdoor gatherings from 500 to 150 people.

Update, 12:10: At his mid-day coronavirus briefing, Murphy confirmed the restrictions as described above.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Murphy said "God willing" we wont have to endure another statewide shutdown. However, Murphy also stressed that "we're in the fight of our lives" over the next few months, and hinted if things do not improve, more drastic actions could be needed. The governor also indicated he expects the same travel guidance (essentially, don't travel) for Christmas that we saw over Thanksgiving.

On Sunday, the state reported another 3,851 positive COVID tests. That is the second day in a row that number has been below 4,000. And while the holiday weekend may have skewed some data, the numbers do appear to be trending in the right direction. Hospitalizations remain stable to slightly higher at around 2,800. The rate of transmission is also falling, but remains above 1.0, which indicates the virus is still spreading.

The governor says there is light at the end of the tunnel with progress being made on vaccines. The first mass batch of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on U.S. soil from a Belgium production facility this weekend. Millions of doses are being strategically moved to key locations around the country in anticipation of approval from the FDA in a matter of weeks. State health officials have said they expect to begin inoculating high-risk individuals in New Jersey by the end of December.

Meanwhile, state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli is isolating at home after a possible novel coronavirus exposure. She will not be with the governor when he holds his coronavirus briefing with reporters later today.

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