May 17, 2020 – This is not a drill. Public and private beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores will reopen on May 22, 2020, at 6:00 AM, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.
According to Executive Order No. 143, which was signed on May 14, 2020 by Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey is no longer seeing an increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases daily.
The Order seeks to comply with the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on visiting parks and recreational facilities, which recognized that parks and open spaces help keep the mind and body healthy. Parks and open spaces include beaches and lakeshores.
“I am thrilled to announce that the Jersey Shore will be open to families across our state and region in a way that is consistent with protecting the public health of every beachgoer,” said Governor Murphy in a press release.
However, water fountains, picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions, indoor recreational areas, water play areas and water play equipment, and other buildings or facilities like visitor centers shall remain closed.
Amusement parks and arcades located the beaches shall also remain closed.
Social distancing must be observed.
Beachgoers must practice social distancing at all public and private beaches, EO No. 143 said. This includes staying six feet apart as far as practicable, except towards romantic partners, immediate family members, caretakers, and household members.
Other measures include controlling density at entrance points and gates, marking the spacing where people may form a line, installing physical barriers, and installing foot pedals or motion sensors for shower pedestal.
Rafting up of boats and organizing contract activities or sports are also prohibited.
Restaurants, dining establishments, and bars may only offer food delivery and take-out services.
Those who will violate the preventive measures laid down in the EO could face penalties.
The EO also prohibits limiting capacity by discriminating against non-residents, low-income people, and other protected classes.
Meanwhile, swimming and picnicking are now permitted in state parks and forests and county and municipal parks.
Governors Murphy, Cuomo, Lamont and Carney ink multi-state agreement on beaches
Meanwhile, ahead of the anticipated re-opening, the governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Delaware have signed an agreement to re-open public and private beaches, subject to restrictions.
The agreement is merely to align the policies of the neighboring states to make sure they are consistent with one another.
“With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching and warmer weather on the way, we want to make sure New Yorkers and residents of our neighboring states are able to safely enjoy outdoor recreational activities,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Delaware Governor John Carney said that summer at the beach is a massive part of life for many of his constituents.
Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut said that it does make sense for states to work together to make sure beaches are enjoyed responsibly.