NJ towns make plans to reopen parks, threaten to ticket violators
The borough of Lakehurst has given residents another chance to enjoy Lake Horicon while other parks around the state continue to open.
Gov. Phil Murphy last week lifted an order closing state and county parks. Municipal parks had been left to the discretion of local authorities.
The municipal parks that are reopening are abiding by the guidelines followed by state and county parks to keep playgrounds, basketball courts, bathrooms, picnic areas and other facilities within the parks closed.
Mayor Harry Robbins ordered the lake to close when the grounds became crowded on Saturday. He ordered the lake reopened on Monday with added patrols and warned that ticketing will happen for violating social distancing rules.
"I'm not going to keep opening and closing … There will be message signs reminding people to keep their distance from each other and do what they're supposed to do," Robbins told New Jersey 101.5. "Otherwise, there will be some tickets handed out this time around."
Robbins said the picnic tables have been turned upside down and police will patrol the recreation area every 20 minutes.
The mayor learned that Saturday's crowd was made up primarily of out-of-towners and there were about 75 people between two groups who were barbecuing and gathered around a bonfire.
"They were running amuck," Robbins said.
Brick Mayor John Ducey on Tuesday announced that Brick Beach I, Brick Beach II and Brick Beach III are open but Brick Beach III's parking lot is closed because of a previously scheduled project.
The Brick Reservoir, which is managed by the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority, has been closed since March 16.
The Brick Farmer's Market will also reopen at Windward Beach Park on Saturday, May 16, with special rules, including vendors being required to wear gloves and masks, no samples and foot traffic in one direction.
Washington Rock State Park in Green Brook, which is run by the Somerset County Park Commission, will close over concerns about its small size and large crowds.
Hoboken city and county parks will reopen in phases staring Friday.
“Based on the recent data demonstrating a downward trend in new confirmed cases in Hoboken, and the important benefits of outdoor activities on mental health, we are moving forward with the first phase of a gradual parks re-opening,” Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla said in a written statement.
Jersey Shore municipalities are making plans to open beaches and boardwalks as the Memorial Day weekend approaches.
Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to offer guidance to shore communities but at his May 1 briefing said that “a township cannot actually legally restrict folks from outside of their township,” adding “So that’s not actually within their right to do so.”
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ
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