SEASIDE HEIGHTS — If you want to get outside during the governor's stay-at-home order (which still allows for solo outside activity), one Shore town has taken itself off the list of possible destinations.

Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz said he ordered the ocean and bay beaches closed, and had their crossover gates locked. He urged those who may want to head to Seaside Heights when the weather gets warmer or have a second home in Seaside Heights to remain at their primary residences.

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all businesses deemed "non-essential" to close until further notice, and all gatherings banned, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing.

The order largely requires that the state's 9 million residents remain home, although they're allowed to walk or run outside as long as they can maintain a safe distance from others.

“I anticipate that as the weather improves at the end of this week and beyond, and we start experiencing more moderate and warm temperatures people will be tempted to get in their cars and cross the bridge onto the barrier island. Closing the beaches is intended to serve as a disincentive for people to violate the governor’s executive orders and his very strong public comments that directs all of us to stay home," Vaz wrote.

The beaches were crowded on Friday, when the temperature climbed as high as 80 by late afternoon.

The closure of the beach is also intended to minimize the contact police, firefighters and EMS have with the public, according to Seaside Heights Emergency Management Coordinator Erik Hershey.

Hershey said the amusements and non-essential boardwalk businesses are closed.

In a post on it's Facebook page the City of Asbury Park said it's beaches and boardwalk remain open but groups of two or more are not permitted. Police are monitoring for social distancing practices.

"Should residents and visitors fail to follow guidelines, the AP Boardwalk and Beaches are subject to closure," read the Facebook page.

Island Beach State Park is open between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. with no charge to access the beach but all facilities, including restrooms, are closed.

The Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes the beaches at Sandy Hook, has closed all park buildings but all trails and shorelines are available for visitor use.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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